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Just Dance (Gonna Be Okay)

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ALEC POV

 

Alec groaned, anxiously tapping his pencil against the edge of his textbook.

"C'mon, Alec," Izzy sighed, closing her own book. "It'll be fun! And I swear- there will be cute guys there. I promise."

"Shh! Keep it down, will you? Besides, you know I don't really care about parties."

"Yeah, but I do," Izzy said. "Simon's band is playing. It's pretty important to him, and it's a chance for you to get out and actually socialize for once. And it's at Pandemonium, one of the best clubs in town!"

He gave her an unimpressed look.

She opened up her textbook again. "You're always studying, and don't get me wrong, I know grades are important, but you're important, too. And right now, you seriously need to have some fun."

"Izzy, I'm fine."

"You know what people who say that they're fine are?" she asked as she leafed through the pages. "Not fine. The opposite of fine."

Alec sighed. "And how would going to a loud, boring party equate to me being fine?"

"It'll get you to loosen up," she suggested, scribbling something down in a notebook.

"Izzy, I don't need to loosen up."

She snorted. "Really?"

The library door opened and someone entered, drawing Izzy's attention.

Izzy scowled.

Alec glanced over to see what she was glaring at. Oh. Right.

Entering was Magnus Bane, adjusting his bag and looking determined.

"Why do you hate Bane again?" Alec asked her, trying to divert the conversation.

It worked.

"Because he's cheating playboy! Remember that French exchange student? Camille? He broke her heart!” she fumed, slamming her book shut again. “She seemed so nice- and she gave amazing makeup tips. And she pulled off that red lipstick like a boss.”

Seeing his unimpressed frown, she huffed. “Campus heartbreaker, all-around jerk? None of this rings a bell?"

Alec shrugged.

She narrowed her eyes. "You do know this doesn't mean I'm going to stop bugging you about that party, right?"

"You do know that Bane is probably going to be at that party, right?"

"So?" she said carelessly. "It's a big enough party I can avoid him."

He sighed, looking back over at Magnus. He’d been joined by his best friend, Ragnor Fell. They were heading for one of the chess tables, talking quietly. Magnus looked fabulous as always, tasteful choice in clothing (if a bit extravagant for Alec's tastes- but it suited him) and glimmering with ever movement. Ragnor was neat and trimmed as always, hair as bright green as ever. You couldn't deny that they were pretty- especially Magnus. They began to play. Magnus was, in a way, mesmerizing. The tilt of his lips, the gleam of his eyes, the twirl of his hands, the way he bit his lip when he was thinking about where to move a piece next. He may be an asshole, but he was certainly a beautiful one.

An indignant cough from his sister jerked his eyes away. Izzy's lips were quirked into a frown. "Alec, I just want you to have some fun, for once. Do something dumb. Act your age! You don't even have to drink or anything, just... please? Come?"

Alec stared for a long moment before letting out a long breath.

"Alright," he said finally. "Fine. But you owe me."

She laughed happily. "Yes! I knew I could make you see sense!"

"Yeah, yeah," he grumbled fondly. "Don't let it go to your head."

Izzy gave him a mischievous look. “I call dibs on choosing your outfit!”

“Izzy, you can’t call dibs on choosing my outfit!”

“Of course I can,” she replied, grinning. “I just did. I’m going to make you look fabulous. In fact, you might even get laid!”

Alec’s cheeks flushed red against his will. “Izzy!” he hissed.

“What?” she said flippantly. “Don’t be such a prude, big brother- there’s nothing wrong with having a good time.”

“I’m not a prude,” he said, frowning, “I just don’t care for meaningless sex. There’s nothing wrong with it… It’s just not for me.”

“I know,” Izzy said sincerely. “But who knows? Maybe you’ll meet a cutie there- and maybe you’ll even meet your future husband!”

“I guess,” he sighed.

“I’m still choosing your outfit, though,” she laughed, “-and that’s final.”

He rolled his eyes, finding his gaze drawn back to the chess table again. They were laughing, and evidently Ragnor had won. They shared a smile and Ragnor got up to leave. They talked for a few moments, grinning, and then Ragnor left. Magnus looked after him with a fond smile, before pulling a book out of his bag and flipping it open, sinking back into his chair to read.

Alec remembered what Alec had said, about this guy being an ass. He’d only met Camille once, and she’d seemed nice enough, if a bit… overconfident. But even if all that were true, right now he didn’t look like a guy who kicked puppies or broke hearts.

Izzy punched his shoulder lightly. “What’s got you so spacey, big brother?” she asked playfully.

He snapped back to attention. “Nothing,” he said. “Just thinking.”

“About what?” she asked, raising an eyebrow. “Got a boy in mind?”

He flushed. “No! Just the party, is all.”

Izzy laughed. “Don’t be worried,” she said. “You’ll be fine. You may even have fun for once.”

Alec blinked. “I have fun.”

“Oh, really? Alec, when’s that last time you really enjoyed yourself? The last time you didn’t do something for your grades or our parents?”

“When we all went out for ice cream,” he muttered.

“Alec, that was last month!”

He sighed.

She gave him a long, sympathetic look. “Alec, you don’t have to carry the world on our shoulders. I just- I just want to help you.”

Alec’s lips quirked and he ducked his head. “I know, Izzy.”

Izzy smiled.

“…I already said I'd go, didn't I?” Alec said.

Izzy grinned. “Oh, thank you, thank you! You won’t regret this, I promise- I’m going to make you look amazing!” she looked so excited, absolutely glowing with enthusiasm. “You’re gonna have a great time!”

He gave a pretend groan. “I regret this already.”

 

MAGNUS POV

 

Magnus walked into the library, feeling rather upset.

(He felt stares on his back, he could hear someone- Isabelle Lightwood, he thought- scoffing as he opened the door. It was shame, that one, because in another life they could have been great friends. She was feisty, intelligent, and she had wonderful taste- sadly, she hated him with a passion. It wasn’t to be.)

He readjusted the strap of his bag, heading for the fiction section.

Someone tapped his shoulder.

“Hey, Magnus. Good night last night?” Malcom grinned, wiggling his eyebrows. He was perhaps the third person in the past hour to ask.

“Not particularly,” Magnus replied dismissively, scouring the shelf in front of him for the book he was looking for. “Herondale decided it would be hilarious if he pushed me into the pool.”

Of course, Jace couldn’t have known that Magnus would run behind a building to nearly have a panic attack, but that didn’t make the whole experience any less unpleasant. He hadn’t meant to be malicious (just humiliating, Magnus thought bitterly), but Magnus couldn’t even bother to stay any longer after that.

He didn’t say any of this out loud.

“Well, I heard you and Imasu hooked up- he went after you, right?”

Imasu had not, in fact, come after him, as Imasu had moved away two weeks ago.

Magnus sighed. “No, I just went back to my room and read a book.”

Malcom grinned. “Ooooh,” he said, as if he and Magnus were sharing some secret. “Right. You read a book.” He winked.

Magnus rolled his eyes. “Yes,” he said patiently, “To be specific, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I read a book, Malcom.”

Malcom gave the same conspiratorial grin as if he knew all the world’s secrets, nodding with a laugh, and walked away.

Magnus couldn’t help but sigh again, turning to look on the next shelf.

“What are you sighing about?” someone said behind him.

“Aah!” Magnus shrieked, whirling to see Ragnor, his roommate, standing right behind him. “Could you stop doing that?!”

“Stop doing what?” Ragnor said, sounding highly amused. He kept a completely straight face, the fucker.

“Sneaking up on me like that! It’s like you just fucking-” he made a gesture with his hands, “-poof out of nowhere just to scare the crap out of me!”

Ragnor gave a small laugh. “I have silent footsteps, my friend. So what is troubling you, then?”

Magnus huffed, scanning the shelf and finally pulling out the book he was looking for, tucking it into his bag. “Everyone seems insistent that I slept with someone last night- Imasu or Woolsey or Kitty- or god forbid, Simon! Why on earth would I sleep with a boy who’s like a little brother to me?”

Ragnor shrugged. “You know what people are like, my friend- complacent as sheep, and twice as stupid.”

Magnus couldn’t help but sigh heavily. “I suppose,” he said listlessly.

Ragnor bumped his shoulder lightly. “Don’t let it get you too down,” he said, trying to brighten the mood. He pointed to one of the dusty chess tables in the corner. “Would you like to attempt to beat me at chess again?”

“Excuse you,” Magnus huffed, walking to drop his bag down next to the table, “Don’t you mean that you want a rematch- after I kicked your ass?

Ragnor chuckled, following him. “That’s the spirit.”

Magnus gave him a considering look, beginning to reset the board. “What’s got you in such a good mood?”

Ragnor said nothing, eyes gleaming.

“Ragnor,” Magnus said, narrowing his eyes.

Ragnor grinned, taking his seat. “You may not have had a companion last night, my friend, but…”

Magnus squealed, almost throwing the chess pieces off the table in his excitement. “You and Raphael? Finally?!”

He sat across from Ragnor, clapping his hands. “Tell me everything.”

“There’s not that much to tell,” Ragnor chuckled. “H-He simply asked me out, and I said yes, and… it went well.”

Magnus grinned. He sounded quite flustered, after all- Ragnor rarely stuttered.

Very well,” he said, only having just noticed the colorful little bite mark poking out of his collar. He looked at it pointedly, lips curling upwards.

Ragnor flushed slightly, before ruffling is shirt in a dignified manner, just covering the hickey. “I call white,” he said.

“You just want to go first,” Magnus laughed. He knew perfectly well Ragnor was changing the subject- he hadn’t exactly been subtle about it- but if Ragnor didn’t feel comfortable talking about it, he wasn’t going to force the issue. If Ragnor wanted to tell him, he would- and quite honestly, it was likely after a few dates Ragnor wouldn’t shut up about him.

“Of course, my friend,” Ragnor said happily, moving a pawn forward.

Magnus loved playing chess with Ragnor. It was always a refreshing challenge. Magnus had a way of pretending to have a strategy when he was really just moving pieces willy-nilly: but he was an expert at recognizing opportunities to strike. Ragnor was more in favor of actual strategies- albeit convoluted and overthought ones. He always tended to overanalyze what moves he could take.

They were evenly matched, and Magnus was never quite sure who would win.

Or course, they both frequently tried to cheat.

That was the fun part.

Nearly halfway through their long game (“Ragnor put that knight back where it came from or so help me- you know that piece can’t move like that-!”) Ragnor asked quietly, “Are you truly okay, Magnus?”

Magnus sighed, not meeting Ragnor’s eyes. “I’m fine, my dearest cabbage.”

“I thought we agreed not to lie to one another?” Ragnor reprimanded gently.

Magnus bit his lip. “Ragnor, it’s nothing new. Nothing I can’t handle.”

“That doesn’t mean you should have to handle it, my friend. Not alone, at the very least.”

“It’s just- it’s just everyone seems to… That I’m… That…” he broke off, frustrated.

Ragnor waited patiently, eyes kind.

“I’m not- a whore, am I?” Magnus asked quietly, still refusing to look at him. Neither of them were worried about being overheard- they were in a dusty, darker corner of the library, the nearest occupied table- the Lightwoods- nowhere near enough to hear what they were saying. He looked so young, sometimes, Ragnor thought, so small. “I- I hear it all the time. Slut. Playboy. Cheater. Easy. Heartless.

Ragnor put a hand on Magnus’s shoulder. “You are nothing of the sort,” he said firmly.

“But- it’s my own fault,” Magnus exhaled. “That they say that, I mean. I-”

“It’s not your fault, Magnus!” he said, standing. “No one has any right to call you these things, and you are far from heartless- or any of that! You are one of the best people I know, my friend, and you must never let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Magnus’s shoulders were hunched, but he finally looked at Ragnor, lips trembling.

“Who was there for me when I thought I might never walk again after that car accident? Who was there for Raphael when- when he tried to hurt himself? Who was there for Simon when he had his heart broken?”

“Ragnor, none of that was just me-” Magnus protested, but Ragnor wouldn’t let him finish. “No, of course it wasn’t just you, but you- you don’t realize your own worth, my friend. You don’t realize how much you mean to us. To me.”

Magnus looked down, uncharacteristically bashful, but there was a tiny, pleased smile curling his lips.

He didn’t say anything. He didn’t cry.

Ragnor let himself grin at his friend. “One more thing,” he said. He moved a chess piece forward. “Checkmate!”

Magnus laughed, still sounding a little rough, but he sounded genuinely pleased. “You devious bastard, you,” he said. “Distracting me with feelings.”

“Doesn’t make anything I said less true,” Ragnor said, “But I still won.”

“And so ends my four game winning streak,” Magnus sighed dramatically.

They shared a grin.

“It’s getting late, my friend.” Ragnor said after a moment. “And I now have a boy to go and meet.”

Magnus wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, already shaking off the glum mood that had been clinging to him, already beginning to fold up and put away the chess pieces. “Do tell your dearest lover I say hi,” he said. “And I would love some details tomorrow, hmm?”

Ragnor rolled his eyes fondly. “Of course I will,” he said. “Sleep well, my friend.”

He turned to leave.

“Ragnor?”

Ragnor paused, looking back.

“Thank you.” Magnus said quietly. Ragnor winked, and then turned and walked away, humming a cheery tune. Magnus smiled to himself, digging his book out of his bag, opening it and settling back in his chair to read.

Chapter Text

THE NEXT NIGHT, PANDEMONIUM

 

MAGNUS POV

 

Magnus walked through the club like he always did- as if life was a music video and he was the star.

His make-up was on point, his outfit well chosen, and he looked vaguely ethereal in the colorful, dancing lights and low shadows of the club, striding through the dimmed music and throngs of people, shimmering and glinting like he owned the ground beneath him.

Despite the otherworldly aura around him, he didn't feel very up to this whole thing right now. He smoothly grabbed a cocktail from a passing waiter, taking a sip. Appetini. Not bad.

He looked around, sighing. Ragnor had wandered off somewhere- likely to make out with his boyfriend- and none of his other friends had showed up.

Magnus was happy for Ragnor, but that fact didn’t make him any less bored. Really, it wasn’t nearly as fun without a friend to get into trouble with.

"Hey, sweetheart," someone said behind him.

Magnus turned, flourishing his glass. "Do I know you?"

"Would you like to?" The man said. He had bright blue eyes and blonde hair. Handsome enough, Magnus supposed, but not really my type.

Besides, he wasn't in the mood.

"You are handsome, but I'm afraid not," Magnus exhaled, giving him a polite smile. "I was just leaving."

"We could leave together," he suggested.

"I'm fine," Magnus said sharply, turning to go.

"C'mon," the guy said, grabbing his arm.

Magnus yanked it away, nearly spilling his drink in the process.

"Get off," he hissed.

The man gave a sick grin, reaching forward again. "C'mon, you're Magnus Bane, everyone knows you're easy."

Magnus narrowed his eyes, slapping him away. "I said back the fuck off."

He walked away, avoiding the man's roaming eyes.

He took a long swig, finishing off his appletini, then headed for the door, where he could drop his glass of at the counter by the exit and leave to go back to his warm bed. Maybe he could finish off that episode of Star Trek. He strode a bit faster at the thought, pulling out his phone. He shot Ragnor a text saying he was leaving. Ragnor sent back a smiley face and informed him he would likely not be home tonight. Magnus laughed to himself. 

But as he took a another step, he blinked hard. Suddenly his head was beginning to pound. The world began to spin and whirl. His limbs felt like they were getting heavier. He stared down at the empty glass in horror but just as he begins to tip sideways, the man was right in front of him, his eyes were glinting, the glass tumbled from Magnus's loose fingers and clattered against the floor. His phone barely clung in his grip.

He could feel repulsive hands creeping up his sides, hot, ugly breath on his skin, and his eyes began to close against his will. He tried to struggle as the man pulled him out the back door.

The last thing he felt before everything went black was his phone slipping through his fingers, the harsh hands creeping up his shirt then being yanked away, and the blurry face of his attacker disappearing- then a moment of dizzying blotted lights dancing through his vision, then a pair of dark-lined hazel eyes, before he blinked once, twice, and fell backwards into the darkness.

 

ALEC POV

 

Alec let out a heavy breath, sinking further into the wall.

I can't believe I let Izzy talk me into this, he thought gloomily.

The party wasn't any fun at all. It was giving Alec a headache. He couldn't even dance, and he didn't know anyone there. Izzy had gone off with one of her "friends", Meliorn. Alec couldn't help but worry, just a little bit, but he knew she could take care of herself.

He wasn't even really dressed for this party. Izzy had made him wear a shirt that was a little more tight-fitting than he was used to, but other the lack of his usual sweater and a small amount of eyeliner Izzy had made him wear, he looked largely the same.

At least he had a good view of the place. He could see all sorts of people from here.

A shimmer in the corner of his vision caught his eye. He turned to look.

It was Magnus Bane, not too far away. He stood near the center of the dance floor, cocktail glass in one hand, eyes flashing, clearly not happy with whoever he was talking to. A blonde man was standing in front of him, and by his body language, he was not used to rejection.

Magnus turned on his heel and walked away, downing the rest of his drink.

Alec was about to look away, when he noticed the blonde man smiling darkly, slipping something (it looked like pills of some sort, was this what Alec thought-?) into his pocket and follow directly after him.

Alec stiffened, pushing himself off the wall.

Magnus, not too far from the door now, blinked hard and swayed on his feet.

The blonde man was right behind him now.

Magnus looked down at his drink, paling.

Alec began to walk towards them. (When Izzy had started going to parties like this, he had read articles- about staying safe and such, making sure if his sister was going out she knew how to take care of herself- not that she wasn't tough, but it made him feel better, knowing she knew things like not to leave her drink alone. And now it made him feel better, recognizing the signs.)

Magnus stumbled, the glass falling from his hand.

The man drew closer to him, catching him as he began to slump to the floor.

Alec walked faster, approaching them.

"Excuse me-" he tried. Then he saw the man's face.

Jonathan Morgenstern.

Jonathan scowled. "Fuck off, Lightwood. Mind your own business."

Jonathan seemed to think that was enough, because he turned his attention back to Magnus, who was weakly attempting to get out of his grip. To almost anyone, he would look like he'd drank too much and his "friend" was helping him home. But Alec knew Jonathan. It was exactly something he would do. And Alec had seen him slip those drugs back into his pocket. He'd drugged Magnus's drink, and he'd planned to-

Alec felt sick.

He acted on instinct.

He punched Jonathan in the face.

Jonathan spun back, clutching his nose, and Magnus's dazed, bleary gaze struggled to focus on him. He looked afraid.

Then his eyes fluttered shut and he went completely limp.

Alec managed to catch him before he hit the ground, but he was out cold.

 

Chapter Text

MAGNUS POV

 

Magnus woke slowly.

His surroundings were unfamiliar. He was on a couch- there was a comforter thrown over him, his legs were tangled in the white sheets underneath him.

He still felt woozy- and suddenly, he remembered. Last night: the golden hair, the filthy, wandering hands. He remembers losing his grip on the glass, the man’s sick smile, the way the world blurred, his harsh words and groping hands…

Magnus put a shaking hand up to his face- his makeup, now hopelessly smudged, is still there.

His clothing was disheveled; a button was undone. His breathing was hitched.

He’d been drugged.

And now he’d woken up in an unfamiliar place, alone, and he felt sick, nauseous. He felt violated and dirty and he trembled, he knew he’d gone pale and he felt dizzy again.

Unwanted thoughts spun through his head, fast and scared and angry: What if, what if, please, no it can’t be-

Then someone poked their head around the corner, eyes wide and relieved. He looked familiar, somehow. He was certainly very handsome.

Where had Magnus seen him before? His head was still groggy and he couldn’t quite place his face.

“Oh my god, you’re awake,” he said. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know where else to bring you-”

Alec! Alec Lightwood. Isabelle’s brother.

What was he doing here?

Did he have something to do with it? Was it him- no, his eyes aren’t cold and blue- he broke off, shivering. Did he find me… afterwards?

Magnus stared uncertainly, still shivering, scared, and Alec blanched, seeming to read what he was thinking from his expression.

Magnus felt naked, vulnerable.

“Nonono, oh god no, you’re okay, he didn’t touch you, alright, I promise!” he blurted out. “I punched him pretty hard, but he got away. I’m sorry.”

“I- I… you punched him?” is the intelligent response Magnus gives, rasping slightly.

“Yeah,” Alec said, “I- but, i, uh, didn’t know where to bring you, so I just- I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

“Stop apologizing,” Magnus managed, sitting up.

“Not just- that, I mean, I’m… I’m so sorry, that that even happened, you know? I mean- you don’t deserve that. Not that anyone does-”

“It’s quite alright,” he said, struggling to regain his composure. “It’s hardly your fault. I- where am I?”

“My apartment,” Alec replied. “I couldn’t find your friends, and- well, I couldn’t just leave you there.”

“Thank you, Alec.” Magnus said quietly.

“Uh… you know my name?” Alec asked.

Magnus blinked. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I?”

Alec seemed startled at that. “Uh. No reason, I guess. Do you want some hot chocolate?”

“What?”

He flushed. “I was just making some hot chocolate.”

After a moment, he added, “It’s Swiss Miss.”

Magnus nodded hesitantly, and Alec shot him another painfully shy smile.

He went into the next room to get their mugs.

There was a long, awkward moment. Magnus noticed his phone was on the coffee table (how had he missed that?) and he picked it up. Battery dead. Figures.

Alec came back in, balancing the two mugs.

His said in big, bold letters, I’M THE MOM FRIEND. Magnus’s said TALK NERDY TO ME.

“I’ve only got dumb mugs,” Alec said, glancing at him.

Magnus laughed quietly. “I think they’re funny.”

There was another awkward silence.

The whole situation was beyond awkward.

Magnus sipped his hot chocolate.

“Uh, did you want to… go back to your apartment?” Alec asked finally, breaking the silence. “I can give you a ride- unless you want to go to the police station? Or something?”

Magnus shook his head. “I- I’d prefer not to. I live quite close to the club, and my roommate is probably still out with his boyfriend. I just- would prefer not to be alone right now.”

He flushed, realizing he’d said that out loud.

He really didn’t want to go home right now. His friends were all busy today, and he didn’t think he could handle a quiet apartment- and certainly not a loud party.

(It didn’t help that Alec was sweet and kind and Magnus certainly wouldn’t mind getting to know him better.)

But then again, Alec had no reason to not kick him out now. He'd already saved Magnus, after all, and now he was awake and fine. Alec had no obligations to let him stay.

But Alec didn’t seem perturbed, he just nodded understandingly. “That makes sense,” he said, sitting down warily on the other side of the couch. “Do you want to- I don’t know. We could watch Star Trek? I also have- uh, Lord of the Rings, some Disney, Star Wars- god, I have a very limited selection. I’m not sure if you’d really like any of these, I’m just kind of a nerd.”

He sounded embarrassed, but Magnus grinned.

“Which Star Trek?”

“Uh. All of them?”

“Well, which is your favorite? I mean Voyager is pretty great, and Tom Paris had a pretty fantastic ass- out of this world, you could say-” Alec looked like he didn’t know whether to groan or laugh at the pun, too surprised to really react properly anyway, “-but the Original Series… It’s just classic.”

“Well, true, but the Next Generation had its perks. Data, Picard

“Q,” Magnus added. “I always liked Q.”

Alec laughed. “Yeah. And Star Trek: Enterprise wasn’t that great, but Deep Space Nine was pretty good. But as a favorite, I’d probably have to say either Next Generation or the Original Series.” He paused for a moment, considering. “You know; you don’t strike me as the Star Trek type.”

Magnus gave a mischievous look. “I suppose not. Either way, you’re in trouble now- Ragnor never talks Star Trek with me. You won’t be able to get me to shut up!”

It didn’t take long at all for the awkwardness to dissipate.

I think, Magnus thought as Alec animatedly described a story in which his brother had attempted to learn Klingon and failed miserably, I might’ve made a new friend.

 

ALEC POV of like, that previous scene. Again. Sorry.

 

Quite honestly, Alec had had no idea what to do.

Magnus Bane was currently unconscious in his apartment- passed out on his couch.

Alec hadn’t been able to unlock his phone or contact any of his friends. He didn’t know them well enough. He had no idea where they were. But he did know that Magnus needed help right now- somewhere to sleep off whatever Jonathan had given him and not be bothered.

He hadn’t known what to do- so he’d taken him to his apartment and laid him down on his couch and tried to make him comfortable as possible, unsure of what else to do.

Alec hoped he’d be able to find the words to explain what had happened when Magnus woke up.

He kind of felt like a creep, taking someone asleep and unconsenting to his apartment, even if he hadn’t done anything. But he hadn’t known what else to do- he couldn’t even call Izzy. Although he was sure she would never condone such an attack, she still wasn’t exactly unbiased.

So now he was making hot chocolate- his comfort drink- and anxiously trying to decide what to do.

Then he heard noise from the other room, shifting sheets and hitched, gasping breaths, as if someone had just woken from a terrible nightmare.

It was true enough, he supposed.

He peered around the corner.

Magnus, sure enough, was awake, wide-eyed and shaking like a spooked cat.

It almost hurt to see him like this, a complete stranger, because usually he was so larger-than-life, and now he looked so painfully small. He looked entirely too much like a child, shrouded in a blanket far too big for him.

“Oh my god, you’re awake,” he blurted out. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know where else to bring you-”

Magnus just stared, pale and shivering. One trembling hand was still lifted to his face.

How much did he remember?

 “Nonono, oh god no, you’re okay, he didn’t touch you, alright, I promise!” he rushed out. “I punched him pretty hard, but he got away. I’m sorry.”

“I- I… you punched him?” Magnus asked, rasping slightly, looking rather stunned.

“Yeah,” Alec said, “I- but, i, uh, didn’t know where to bring you, so I just- I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

“Stop apologizing,” Magnus said, pulling himself into a sitting position.

“Not just- that, I mean, I’m… I’m so sorry, that that even happened, you know? I mean- you don’t deserve that. Not that anyone does-” Alec felt rather clumsy, his words all tripping over each other.

“It’s quite alright,” he said unevenly. “It’s hardly your fault. I- where am I?”

“My apartment,” Alec replied. “I couldn’t find your friends, and- well, I couldn’t just leave you there.”

“Thank you, Alec.” Magnus said quietly.

“Uh… you know my name?” Alec asked. Somehow, that surprised him, that someone like Magnus Bane would know his name. Someone beautiful and popular.

“Of course. Why wouldn’t I?” Magnus asked, as if to say Isn’t it obvious?

“Uh. No reason, I guess. Do you want some hot chocolate?”

Alec just wanted to change the subject. And mayve escape social interaction for another minute or so.

“What?”

He flushed. “I was just making some hot chocolate.”

After a moment, he added, “It’s Swiss Miss.”

Magnus nodded hesitantly, and Alec shot him a smile (hopefully a smile and not a grimace).

Alec shuffled into the next room awkwardly, realizing he’d left the things for his own hot chocolate out earlier. He sighed, pulling out another package and another mug.

It was all a little hard to process. Magnus Bane, of all people, was on his couch, having narrowly avoided disastrous consequences last night, and now Alec was making him hot chocolate.

Absently, he wondered how Izzy would react if she knew. On one hand, he left the party with a cute boy- who slept in his apartment, whom he is now making hot chocolate for. If it was anyone but Magnus, she would certainly tease him endlessly (while, all along being proud of him for helping someone like that) and then probably play matchmaker. But this wasn’t anyone else. It was her proclaimed “worst enemy” Magnus Bane.

He finished making the drink, balancing the two mugs and walking into the next room.

Magnus was looking at the two cups funny. For a second, Alec was confused, before remembering that Izzy and Jace kept buying him silly mugs (he pretended not to like it, but secretly, he loved them). He probably thought they were stupid.

“I’ve only got dumb mugs,” Alec said, breaking the silence.

To his surprise, Magnus laughed quietly. “I think they’re funny.”

There was another awkward silence.

The whole situation was beyond awkward.

Alec took a long sip of his hot choclate.

“Uh, did you want to… go back to your apartment?” Alec asked finally. “I can give you a ride- unless you want to go to the police station? Or something?”

He would hardly want to stay here, would he? With someone he hardly knew, someone like Alec?

But Magnus looked down, shaking his head. “I- I’d prefer not to. I live quite close to the club, and my roommate is probably still out with his boyfriend. I just- would prefer not to be alone right now.”

Magnus flushed, as if he hadn’t meant to admit that.

But Alec nodded. He supposed he’d feel the same in Magnus’s situation.

“That makes sense,” he said, sitting down warily on the other side of the couch. “Do you want to- I don’t know. We could watch Star Trek? I also have- uh, Lord of the Rings, some Disney, Star Wars- god, I only have a very limited selection. I’m not sure if you’d really like any of these, I’m just kind of a nerd.”

He suddenly felt embarrassed, which was ridiculous.

“Which Star Trek?” Magnus asked thoughtfully.

“Uh. All of them?”

“Well, which is your favorite? I mean Voyager is pretty great, and Tom Paris had a pretty fantastic ass- out of this world, you could say-” Alec wasn’t sure how to feel about that pun, but he was still a bit busy processing Magnus Bane is a dork to care, “-but the Original Series… It’s just classic.”

“Well, true, but the Next Generation had its perks. Data, Picard” He replied, trying to keep his cool.

“Q,” Magnus added. “I always liked Q.”

Alec laughed. That was Max’s favorite character. “Yeah. And Star Trek: Enterprise wasn’t that great, but Deep Space Nine was pretty good. But as a favorite, I’d probably have to say either Next Generation or the Original Series.” He paused for a moment, considering whether he should voice his thoughts. “You know; you don’t strike me as the Star Trek type.”

Magnus gave him a mischievous grin. “I suppose not. Either way, you’re in trouble now- Ragnor never talks Star Trek with me. You won’t be able to get me to shut up!”

Soon enough, the two of them curled up on the couch like old friends, chattering quietly and laughing and sharing surprisingly wild stories on both sides (“Did I tell you I got banned from Peru?” “What? No way!”).

It took a while, but they ended up choosing Voyage Home (“It’s gold, Alec, it’s gold. Whales. Whales! And oh my god, the levels of sass. It’s great.”) to watch and settling in with some cheap microwave popcorn and their hot chocolate.

Magnus was surprisingly very well-versed in Star Trek knowledge (and, it seemed, a vast array of other nerdy things, just based on the topics they had dipped into) and wonderful company. They kept up a friendly banter, debating back and forth and discussing their favorite characters, and it was almost over too soon.

It was, quite honestly, one of the best nights Alec had had in a while- if one of the oddest.

They end up falling asleep on the couch, marathoning Next Generation. One of Alec’s arms was thrown over Magnus, Magnus partially slumped over to the side, and the last thing Alec thinks is, completely ridiculously, I’m glad I didn’t have any classes today.

 

Chapter Text

 

NO ONE’S POV? I GUESS? I’M SORRY I’M JUST REALLY BAD AT THIS

The next morning, Magnus knows that by now, Ragnor is probably very worried.

Judging by the six missed calls and ten texts messages (which, for Ragnor, is the equivalent of putting up MISSING posters), that is.

He’d finally charged his phone, and he had wanted to change out of his, by now, rather gross outfit (it having been a tight pair of jeans and a rather stylish red and gold top) but he had no clothing to change into. (Alec almost offered to let him borrow a sweater and an old pair of sweatpants or something, but then realized that maybe that would be weird. He barely knew the guy, and they’d probably be too big for him anyway. When Magnus asked him what he was thinking about, he’d squeaked out, “Nothing!” and proceeded to blush for two whole minutes.)

He finally texted Ragnor (“Don’t you ‘cabbage’ me, Magnus Bane, I was worried sick-”) and he was about to leave.

Magnus wondered if he would see Alec again. Around campus. In class, even.

He wished they could do this again, really, but why would Alec want to? Logically, he knew it was unlikely for Alec to have put up with him all night (and then fall asleep) if he hadn’t been enjoying himself- but there was always that savage little part of his mind that whispered, Why would he want to spend more time with you? You’re not exactly prime friend material, with all you’ve done- and that was the part of him that held him back from saying anything. Alec, simply put, was way out of his league.

Little did he know, Alec was having a similar conundrum. Why would Magnus Bane (he couldn’t get over that- Magnus Bane, graceful and glorious: now he seemed so human, and it only made him more beautiful) want to spend time with Alec? Lumbering, clumsy Alec, awkward and quiet- it simply didn’t make sense. Magnus, simply put, was way out of his league.

 

Now, they came to a stop in front of Magnus’s apartment, and he smiled sheepishly at Alec. “This my stop,” he said.

Alec cleared his throat. “Yeah.”

It felt rather like that awkward moment after a first date when no one’s sure whether they should kiss or not (not even the neighbor’s dog, who is watching through a hole in the fence). Excepting, of course, that this wasn’t a first date at all, and was in fact actually quite an awkward circumstance, if either of them really thought about it.

(The neighbor’s dog would like to point out he still thinks they should kiss. Shut up. No one asked you.)

 

There are many turning points in time.

Anything from the beat of a butterfly’s wings, a single sentence, to one step over a threshold, can make the biggest difference in the world. The power in such a moment comes from one thing: the potential.

A tipping point, where everything could go one way… or another.

Two people can part paths and grow apart, or merge together and become something beautiful.

This one such moment.

It took one split-second decision, one moment of bravery, to change both of their lives.

 

Of course, I’m making this sound all the more dramatic then it is: to put it quite plainly, Magnus spun on one heel, and said, “You know, could we do this again?”

He wasn’t sure how Alec would react, so he plowed on before he lost his nerve. “Maybe next time we could finish season one? Or even something else, like Lord of the Rings, or Doctor Who? You can even come to my place, I’ll make food,” Somewhere in his mind, Magnus realized he was rambling, but sadly found he couldn’t stop himself. “Ragnor will either leave us alone or steal all of our popcorn- and I have the entire Torchwood box set-”

Alec was torn between two thoughts: first, that Magnus was, in fact, quite cute when he was rambling, and secondly, holy shit he wants to do this again.

Even though he was internally screaming, he managed to interrupt Magnus to say (Please sound cool, please sound cool, he prayed), “Uh. Yeah. Sure. That sounds- that sounds great.”

Magnus’s shoulders hunched slightly, embarrassed, but he gave an uncharacteristically shy smile (a frankly adorable quirk of the lips) and said, “Well, then- here’s my number, so we can get in touch.”     He quickly scribbled his phone number down on the back of a receipt and handed it to him, then turned and walked away.

Alec felt rather light-hearted the whole way home.

 

 

Chapter Text

MAGNUS POV

 

The past two days had been a terrifying rollercoaster.

First the party, the boredom, then the overwhelming terror, then Alec- falling asleep to Star Trek and hot chocolate- and now here. How would he explain to Ragnor that Alec Lightwood of all people had saved his life?

Ragnor was a worrywart, after all, and a good friend. The best.

He sighed and opened the door, slipping inside.

“Magnus, where have you been? You promised to text me when you were coming home, you know how dangerous it is to be out alone at night-” Ragnor began, gesturing his hands animatedly as he always did when he worried, only to pause and take in Magnus’s appearance.

Rumpled, disheveled, shoulders tense and lips tight. Nervous.

“Magnus, my friend, what’s wrong?” he asked, eyebrows furrowing in concern.

“I…” Magnus bit his lip, unsure of what to say. “The party. Last night. There was… a man.”

By god, this is ridiculous, he thought to himself, I can’t even string together a proper sentence.

The same irrational thoughts flew through his head: what if he thinks it was my fault? What if it was my fault? What if he thinks I’m disgusting?

Logically, he knew perfectly well that Ragnor would never think such things of anyone, much less a friend- he was loyal to the end, and stubborn as an ox in his opinions. But that nasty little part of his minds ate away at him.

“A man?” Ragnor asked, raising an eyebrow. He picked up his glass from the table, taking a cool sip. “Not one of your sordid affairs, I presume?”

Magnus appreciated the attempt at light-heartedness (as Ragnor no doubt knew he would) and took a breath.

“No,” he said, his voice quickly growing steadier, “He drugged my drink. He planned to- well. No doubt you can guess.”

Ragnor’s eyes widened, horrified, and he set down his glass heavily, hands shaking slightly. “Are you alright?” he asked instantly, moving towards him fearfully. “Is there anything I can do to help? Oh, I should’ve been there-”

“Don’t blame yourself, Ragnor,” Magnus said. “You have every right to have fun. Besides, I- nothing happened.”

“Nothing happened?” Ragnor repeated, shoulders relaxing. “Are you alright, then?”

Magnus gave a small smile. “I’m fine- You’ll never believe who punched the guy.”

“Oh?” Ragnor asked, amused, already gathering himself as if he had never been afraid. “Who would that be?”

“Alec Lightwood.”

“Alec Lightwood?”

“Alec Lightwood!”

“Then where were you last night? And all day?” Ragnor asked.

Magnus blushed.

Both of Ragnor’s eyebrows went up.

“He- uh. He helped me.” Magnus said. “I was out of it- he made sure I wasn’t hurt, and… Well. He made me hot chocolate. It was very sweet, really.”

“The drink or the boy?” Ragnor asked, rolling his eyes fondly.

“Both,” Magnus grinned mischievously. “But- well, you were with Raphael and I didn't want to bother you, my phone was dead, and I didn’t- well, I didn’t really want to be alone. So, he offered to watch Star Trek with me. We... fell asleep on his couch. But Ragnor, he’s adorable.

Ragnor furrowed his brows together. He seemed to be focusing on the 'bother' part when he said, “Magnus, it doesn’t matter where I am, if you’re really in trouble, call me. Charge your phone, use a payphone, do whatever, but I will always be there for you.”

Magnus averted his eyes, unwillingly feeling shame well up, hot and dark in his ribcage. “I know,” he said quietly, “But I was no longer in any danger. I didn’t want to interrupt you lovebirds- you both deserve happiness.”

“So do you, my friend,” Ragnor said firmly. “So… did you get his phone number?”

Magnus chuckled. “I gave him mine. He did say we could- meet up again. Sometime. Who else will Star Trek with me?”

“Simon probably would.”

Magnus paused thoughtfully. “Hmm. Actually, you have a point.”

“So when will this date be?”

Magnus blushed (again).  “It’s not a date,” he said.

Ragnor gave him a stern look.

“It’s not! I’m not even sure if Alec is single, much less swinging my way. We’re just friends right now, okay? Besides, his sister hates me.”

“Oh, yes,” Ragnor said thoughtfully. “Isabelle. But you’re not trying to date her, are you?”

“I’m not trying to date Alec, either,” Magnus tried.

Ragnor gave him the same stern look.

Magnus sighed. “Okay, so I certainly wouldn’t mind going on a date with him. But it’s not a date. Besides, Ragnor, he’s way out of my league.”

“My friend,” Ragnor said, “Might I remind you that you are in the highest of leagues? He would be lucky to have you.”

“You know how to flatter a man, dear cabbage,” Magnus laughed.

Ragnor scoffed fondly. “Either way, my friend, don’t get yourself hurt again. Please.”

Magnus didn’t say anything, but his lips pressed together tightly.

“Now, you must tell me more about this boy,” Ragnor said, breaking the tense silence. “Star Trek, you say? You got him to watch that blasted show with you?”

He was teasing. Changing the subject, too.

Magnus laughed. “Actually, he suggested it. Next time, we’ll finish season one of the Next Generation.”

“Is that one with the bald man with the weird accent? Who likes tea?”

“Ragnor!” Magnus said, mock-offended. “Captain Picard is so much more than his magnificent accent, shiny bald head, and love for Earl Grey! I’ll have you know-”

Ragnor groaned, “Here we go again-” but he was smiling.

So was Magnus.

 

("Don't think you're getting out of telling me every detail, Ragnor, I will be hearing about your date-!")

 

 

ALEC POV

 

“Alec!” Izzy shouted. “Alec!”

Alec sighed, pausing long enough for Izzy to catch up.

“Alec, what happened last night? You just disappeared! And when I tried to text you, you were not very forthcoming! And where were you all morning?”

Alec blushed despite himself. “Nowhere,” he muttered.

Izzy examined his expression closely. After a moment, she lit up.

Oh my god!” she laughed delightedly. “Did you get laid?”

“Izzy, no-”

“My virgin brother got laid!” she sang.

“Izzy, shhh!” he hissed. “Look, first of all, I’m not a virgin. I haven’t been for years. Second of all-”

He cut himself off, thinking. He couldn’t exactly tell Izzy what had happened. It wasn’t his story to tell. Besides, maybe if he told her that he’d ‘loosened up’ she’d lay off him on the party turf for a while. Maybe. If he was lucky.

He loved his sister, but parties just weren’t his thing.

She sighed. “I know, Alec, I just… want you to have fun.”

He bumped her shoulder affectionately. “It’s fine, Izzy… I just…”

“So…” she gave him a sunny, too-innocent grin. “Did you get laid last night?”

Alec blushed again. “Maybe.” He said, refusing to elaborate.

She squealed. “Did you get his number?”

“Maybe,” he repeated.

Alec felt bad for lying to his sister, but he reasoned to himself that he had to, didn’t he? Besides, it’s not like it was important information, anyway. It was private, for him and Magnus.

Izzy squealed again, grabbing his arm. “Ooh, we just have to celebrate! Milkshakes, on me, right now!”

Alec laughed, letting her drag him away. Maybe this day could get better after all, he thought to himself, still smiling.

Chapter Text

 

ALEC POV – Later That Night

 

“So, Alec…” Jace said.

He was currently lying on Alec’s couch, head hanging just above the floor and legs running up the back of the couch and sticking up in the air.

“Why can’t you ever sit normally?” Alec sighed, setting down his mug on the table. “I can’t believe you want coffee this late.”

“Alec….”

“What?”

“I heard you got a hot date.”

Alec sputtered. “I-I do not! Have you been talking to Izzy?”

 “C’mon, Alec, you gave a guy your number! I’m proud of you!”

Alec exhaled. “Jace, I don’t have a date. It was one hookup, okay?”

He managed not to blush (or fidget and give away the lie) and took a long sip of his own drink, avoiding eye contact.

“Whoa! I’m even prouder! My uptight brother, loosening up!” Jace teased, grinning widely.

Alec’s cheeks, despite his best efforts, flushed dark red.

“Shut up,” he grumbled. “Are you going to drink your coffee or not?”

The mug was impressively square (Minecraft themed, a gift from Simon) and Jace gave an overdramatic sigh, flopping sideways onto the couch cushions and grabbing the mug.

He took a long sip, grinning up at Alec, before mumbling into the mug, “Mmm, you make the best coffee.”

“Jace, it’s just regular old coffee. I don’t do anything special to it.”

“Don’t give me that, Alec, I know you put cinnamon in it- or something, anyway, but I tried it once and I can never get it right!”

“I don’t know what you mean.” Alec said, the edge of his lips curling upwards as he took another innocent sip from his mug. Said mug was one of his favorites: all it said in plain letters was “IDGAF”. Perfect. (That one he had chosen himself.)

“Look. C’mon. Did you at least get his name?”

Alec took another sip, avoiding the question for as long as possible.

Jace waited expectantly.

Alec sighed. “No.”

Jace whooped. “I never knew you were so wild, Alec!”

He scowled. “You used to have one-night-stands all the time, Jace. It’s not that wild.”

“Yeah, but I’ve always been a wild child,” Jace said, “You, on the other hand, not so much.”

“Oh, really?” Alec said dryly. “Who was it that once dumped a slushie on that girl’s head after she wrote nasty words on Izzy’s locker?”

“That was you?” Jace asked, slightly wide-eyed.

Alec gave him a sideways look. “You didn’t know that?”

“No!” Jace exclaimed. “Alec, when did you get so… badass?”

Alec rolled his eyes. “Jace, I’ve always been badass. You’re just dense.”

“You take that back-”

 

ALEC POV -  The next day

 

“Okay, spill.”

Alec sighed again. “Why are you all so interested in my love life?”

Four eager faces stared back at him.

“Ha!” Izzy said. “You said love life!”

Alec groaned.

“C’mon,” Jace said. “You didn’t give any details! At all! You distracted me with stories of your troubled youth!”

“And I don’t know anything about it,” Simon chimed in. “Actually, what exactly are we talking about?”

“Tall and Frowny had a hot date!” Clary said cheerfully.

One hookup!” Alec cried. “At a dumb party!”

Quite honestly, this whole thing had spiraled. He refused to make it worse by making up a name or anything similar.

“One hookup more than we’ve ever heard you have,” Clary said thoughtfully. “Was he cute?”

“Does it matter?”

“Of course!” Jace and Clary said at the same time.

“Ugh. Fine. Yes?” The last part came out as a question. Magnus was cute, and even if they hadn’t slept together he had stayed the night. “Can we please not talk about this?”

“Aw, c’mon, Alec. We’re just happy for you,” Clary said brightly.

“And fascinated with the mating habits of grumpy cat- ow!” Simon added, cut off by Clary’s elbow (her smile never faltered).

“Look. The whole point to dragging me to that party was to relax, right? Bugging me constantly about exactly what happened isn’t relaxing, it’s stressful as hell. So can you… stop? Please?” Alec asked.

Izzy frowned, exhaling through her nose. “You’re right,” she said finally. “We are being pretty nosy. But remember… we just want what’s best for you, hermano. 

 Simon and Clary nodded in agreement, both looking chastised, but Jace shrugged unapologetically. “Of course we want what’s best for you,” he said, “But I’d still like to meet this guy…”

“No!” Alec said a little too quickly.

Clary looked rather suspicious, but Izzy was too busy knocking Jace over the head. “Jace!” she scolded. “We just agreed not to pry!”

“No,” Jace said, “You agreed not to pry. Technically you didn’t even agree not to pry, you just agreed that we shouldn’t pry.”

Izzy gave him a dangerous look. “I’ll cook your dinner for three weeks, every day,” she threatened.

His eyes widened. “Okay! Jeez! I won’t pry!”

Alec sent her a grateful look.

“Well, on that note,” Simon said cheerfully, “Let’s change the subject. What did you think of my band playing at the party?”

 "I liked the Lady GaGa song," Izzy inputted. "You, Maureen, and Raphael did that really well!"

"I never knew Maureen could get her voice that high," Clary mused.

"You know, speaking of Raphael, I heard he got a new boyfriend." Izzy said.

"Oh, yeah," Simon laughed, "And about time, too. Those two have been dancing around each other for weeks."

"Who are we talking about?" Jace asked.

"Raphael Santiago. See, he's been dancing around his feelings for this guy for ages,"  Simon fake-groaned, "I mean, ugh, you have no idea how many bad matchmaking plots Magnus tried to rope me into-"

"Magnus?" Alec asked. "As in Magnus Bane?"

"I didn't know you knew him," Izzy added darkly.

"He's a pretty good friend, actually," Simon said, oblivious to her sour expression. "He keeps pretending to forget my name, but I know he knows it."

"He's probably actually forgotten it," Izzy scowled. "He's a no-good-"

Simon frowned, brow furrowing. "You know him?"

Izzy pursed her lips. 

Simon gave her a look. "Yeah, I thought so. Trust me, if you knew him you wouldn't say that. He's a great guy."

Alec tried to hide his interest in the topic, but judging by the way Clary had tilted her head considerately in his direction, maybe he wasn't being as discreet as he'd hoped.

Izzy looked like she wanted to argue, but she said nothing. Alec knew her well enough to know there was a glint of doubt in her eyes, but also anger.

But she'd never want to lose Simon over such a silly argument. He was one of her closest friends.

So she let it go.

"Anyway," Simon said, just as brightly as before as if the interruption had never happened, "They'd been dancing around their feelings for ages, when-"

 

Chapter Text

MAGNUS POV – like the next day? Idk man, time is a human construct

 

“Samuel!” Magnus called, walking faster to catch up to him.

Simon turned, smiling. “Oh, hey, Magnus,” he said, not bothering to correct him.

“Your band was very good,” Magnus said, “And in fact,” he began to wrestle something out of his bag, “Me and Ragnor have been working… on a project!” he dug further into his bag, frowning slightly. “OH, dear. Where is it?”

Simon bounced on the balls of his feet, excited.

Magnus gave a victorious Aha! exclaiming, “We took the liberty… of making a T-shirt!”

He finally pulled out a shirt, unfolding it to show Simon. On the front, it had all three band members, drawn in a dramatic paint splatter, all shades of black and grey and dark red that faded into the dark fabric. Their eyes looked almost completely black. Their teeth were pointed. The shadows behind them almost looked like great, spiked wings.

Maureen had blood dripping from one corner of her lips, which were dark red.

Raphael’s hands were on his tie, pale and spidery like a true vampire’s.

Simon’s eyes were dark and bright, seeming to almost glitter angrily.

Beneath that, in spiky, bold letters, it said Vampire Bat.

(The name had been Raphael’s idea, surprisingly. “Dumb name for a dumb band,” he’d said, but even he couldn’t hide his excited grin.)

It was perfect.

“Oh my god!” Simon squealed. “That’s amazing!”

“You like it?” Magnus asked, eyes sparkling. He hadn’t been sure if Simon would like it- or appreciate them making a T-shirt without his input- but he only seemed ecstatic.

“Like it? I love it! Who did this art? Can we make more? It’s so cool!”

Magnus’s cheeks pinked slightly, but he pretended he wasn’t flustered in the least and said, “Ragnor designed the shirt, I painted and drew it. I think it turned out rather nicely, actually...”

“It’s amazing!” Simon repeated breathlessly. “I didn’t know you were so good at art!”

Magnus smiled modestly. “I’m alright,” he said. “But really, it was Ragnor’s idea. And he helped on the actual project too. We work well together.”

Simon gave another disbelieving, bright laugh. “Obviously,” he said. “So can you make more? Is that okay?”

He grinned. “There’s enough for the whole band. And we figured… Well, if you liked it, you could sell some. You know, to fund the band?”

“Oh my god, that’s a great idea! You’re both okay with that? Selling your art on a t-shirt?”

“It’s why we made it, my dear,” Magnus said happily. “For you three.”

Simon laughed again, unable to stop, and pulled Magnus into a hug. “Thank you so much!”

Magnus was tense for just a moment before relaxing, rather awkwardly hugging him back.

When Simon pulled away, wide grin still stretching his face and brown eyes bright, Magnus was smiling, too. “I’m glad you like them, Simon.”

Simon narrowed his eyes playfully. “Ah! That’s my name!”

Magnus laughed, handing him the shirt. “Of course it is, Susan. Would you like the other shirts, to show Maureen and Raphael?”

“Gimmie!” Simon cheered. Magnus dug through his bag, pulling out five or six other shirts.

“You can give some to your friends, if you like,” he said. “We can make some more later for selling.”

“Thanks!” Simon said. “Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask, did you leave early at the party? I couldn’t find you after we were done playing.”

Magnus pursed his lips, looking down. “Ah. Yes, I did.”

Simon paused, grin wiped away in an instant. “Are you okay?”

Magnus’s brows scrunched together. “I’m fine, yes. I just-” He cut himself off, unsure if he should say anything.

“Magnus, if there’s anything wrong, you can tell me. Hey, did that asshole Matt say something again, because I can probably arrange an accident- not like, a hit, I could never kill someone, but I mean so what if he walks around with bright, hideously done dyed hair for like two months? Or-”

Magnus shook his head, lightly amused despite the dark reminder of the could’ve-beens. “No, it wasn’t Matt. I didn’t- recognize him.” He took a breath. “Someone drugged my drink.”

Simon gasped. “Magnus, who do I kill? Are you alright?”

Magnus gave a nervous laugh, shaky and a bit forced, running a hand through his hair.

“No, it’s- I’m fine. Nothing happened,” he said, echoing what he had told Ragnor. He thought back to that conversation, forcing himself to relax. Simon wouldn’t judge him. Simon was his friend. “The guy got away, but- well, I’m fine.”

“He didn’t do anything? What happened?” Simon asked worriedly. “I mean, you don’t have to tell me, I just-”

“It’s fine,” Magnus said. “He managed to- to drug me, and drag me to the back door, but- someone saw him, apparently, and… he intervened.”

“Who?” Simon said, looking relieved. “I’ve got send him flowers. You sure that you’re alright?”

“Alec Lightwood,” Magnus said quietly. “He was very kind.”

Simon gasped again. “Oh!” he said. “That makes so much sense! No wonder he wouldn’t tell us why he left early!”

Magnus gave him a questioning look.

“Oh, Alec’s a great guy,” Simon said, “No way he would tell anyone about something personal like that. Izzy just kind of assumed he’d hooked up with someone, I think he just went with it. No wonder he wouldn’t give us a name, there is no mystery guy! Although, come to think of it, he did say mystery guy was cute. And he blushed! Maybe he meant you.”

Magnus blushed. “Perhaps,” he said. “But we certainly didn’t hook up. He let me sleep off the roofie on his couch. Honestly, I was bit surprised. I thought he hated me.”

Simon grinned. “Like I said, Alec’s a great guy. Even if he did hate you, he probably would have helped you. But for the record, he doesn’t. Izzy does, god knows why, but she’ll get over it. You’re awesome.”

Magnus looked away, small smile curling his lips, inexplicably pleased at the compliment.

Simon stepped forward and hugged him again. Magnus didn’t even go tense this time, just exhaling shakily into his friend’s shoulder.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” Simon said softly.

Then he pulled away again. “C’mon,” Simon laughed. “We should go show these to Maureen and Raphael. They’re gonna love them!”

Magnus raised an eyebrow. “We?”

“Of course, we,” Simon said. “I want you to see their reactions!”

Magnus smiled, holding out a hand. “Lead the way, Stanley,” he teased.

 

ALEC POV – probably the same day idk

 

Alec had been trying to get up the nerve to text Magnus all day.

It’s not a big deal, he told himself. It’s fine. Just text him.

He got out his phone, pulling up the contact he had made (Magnus Babe, due to a fortunate typo that Izzy would never let him live down if she knew) and stared at the blank screen.

What should he even say?

Alec sighed.

Hey, it’s Alec, did you want to watch Star Trek tonight?

No, that sounded too weird. And kind of provocative. He deleted it.

Isn’t the next episode about Q?

No. Too random. He deleted that, too.

Are you busy?

Okay, it was dumb and embarrassing, but it was to the point and Alec kind of wanted to get this over with.

He sent it before he could regret it.

Then he realized that shit, he hadn’t signed it.

I’m sorry, this is Alec he added.

He sighed at his own stupidity.

Izzy gave him an odd look.

He suddenly realized he was still walking with Clary and his sister.

“Hey, Alec, can we talk?” Clary asked, putting a hand on his shoulder. She glanced at Izzy. “Alone?”

Izzy gave them a little smile. “You better not be keeping secrets from me,” she said teasingly, but she walked away.

“Catch up to me at lunch,” she called back over her shoulder.

Alec shook Clary’s hand off. “Sure,” he said. He allowed very few people to touch him. As much as he respected Clary, she wasn’t one of them.

Unbothered, Clary got straight to the point. “Do you have a crush on Magnus Bane?”

Alec sputtered. “What?”

“Or did you hook up with him? At the party?”

“No!”

“Alec, I saw the way you perked up at his name. Something’s changed.”

Alec huffed, annoyed. “I have never had sex with him. And even if I had, it’s none of your business!”

She sighed. “Alec, I just don’t want you hurt.”

“And what makes you think- that is, if we were dating or something, which we’re actually not- that he would hurt me?” he said severely.

“I’m not saying he’s a terrible person, Alec, I’m saying he’s not exactly… boyfriend material. Especially for you.”

“And what gives you the right to decide that?” he said, voice rising despite himself.

“So you do plan on dating him?”

“No! I didn’t say that! I’m saying that he’s a genuinely nice guy and if I wanted to date him, there’s nothing wrong with that! Jesus, Clary, do you even know him?”

“Do you?”

He bit his lip. “No. I don’t. But that’s not the point. And despite what you think, I didn’t hook up with him, okay? I just think he’s… I don’t know. Pretty. Nice. It’s not like I’m in love with him. Honestly, I’d just like to be his friend. You’re blowing this out of proportion!”

She let out a breath. “I just don’t want you hurt,” she said, sounding frustrated and sad.

Alec sighed. “I get it. You care about me. But, look, it’s just- Magnus barely has anything to do with this. I don’t have a crush on him, we’ve never had sex, and we’re not dating. We’re just- friends. Sort of. Okay?”

Clary’s lips twisted downwards. “Fine,” she said, “But if he does anything… anything… you tell us, okay?”

He frowned. “Fine.”

Alec walked away feeling considerably less pleased.

Neither of them were too pleased with the conclusion to that conversation, but for now, it was the best they could do. Their friendship had had a rocky start, and even now sometimes they couldn’t see eye to eye on things.

Alec’s phone pinged.

It was a text.

M: I was going to text you a bad space pun, but I need a little longer to planet ;)

Alec laughed.

Does that mean no?

He only had to wait a moment before he got a reply.

M: Nope- I'm not busy at all. And Ragnor’s at his boyfriend’s house, presumably either making out passionately or eating fancy Italian food

M: Apparently he's quite the cook

M: Why? Wanna watch some Star Trek?

Alec grinned. Sounds fun. Do you mind?

M: Your place or mine, my dear?

 

 

Chapter Text

 

CLARY POV (and sort of Simon’s? A little? Idk man) – THAT’S NEW, RIGHT? AHAHA!

 

Clary sighed. Alec had gone off god-knows where, and now she would have to face his siblings- and Izzy- at lunch. They were going to want to know what she said.

But she had no right to tell them, did she? Whether she was right or not, it was Alec’s life, not hers.

She sighed again. What to do?

When she arrived at her destination, she looked around until she saw Izzy and Jace sitting at a table, and went to join them.

“Hey, guys,” she said.

“Hey, where’s Alec?” Izzy asked, furrowing her brows.

“No idea,” Clary exhaled. “He was texting someone, though.”

Jace perked up at that. “Mystery man, do you think?”

“I don’t think so,” Clary said. “He didn’t look like he was making a booty call, anyway.”

Jace opened his mouth to reply- no doubt a lewd comment- but Simon burst through the doors, stumbling in his haste to get to their table. He looked very excited.

“Guys!” he yelled, grinning widely. “Look!”

Simon was holding a bundle of what looked to be shirts in one arm, but he spread his arms as far as he could so they could see what was on his shirt.

It was a very well done portrait of the band members- very dark and gothic. They looked almost dangerous, like actual vampires, the wing-like shadows behind them sweeping and looming, the bold letters of the band name spiking out below them.

A Vampire Bat t-shirt.

“Isn’t it great?” he laughed eagerly.

Izzy grinned back. “Wow! Who did that? Whoever they are, they’re very talented!”

Clary resisted the urge to frown. “I thought we were going to discuss T-shirt designs later?”

Simon’s grin faltered. “Oh- yeah. I- I kind of forgot. I’m sorry, I was just so excited. These were a gift. Aren’t they cool, though?”

His grin was hopeful, nervous.

Her lips quirked into a smile. “Yeah, it is. Sorry, I just… I don’t know, I was looking forward to it.”

I’m being selfish, she thought to herself. Simon can do what he wants. It’s his band, and that’s a damn good T-shirt.

“So who did do that?” Jace asked with a mouthful of food. Izzy smacked his arm, but she was clearly very interested herself.

“Magnus and Ragnor,” Simon replied happily. “Ragnor designed it, Magnus did the art- isn’t it so cool? It was a surprise!”

Unwittingly, Clary’s mood soured. Magnus Bane again.

She inwardly berated herself. She may not like him much, but it wasn’t really his fault her day wasn’t going well.

Izzy’s smile had also soured.

Jace’s nose was wrinkled. “Hmm,” he said. “Well, he’s a good artist, I guess.”

(Simon felt a sudden appreciation for Jace. Izzy and Clary had clearly scowled at his friend’s name, but Jace seemed, for the most part, unperturbed.)

Simon sighed. “Well, there’s enough for all of you to have one.”

Mentally, he sarcastically added, if you can stand to wear my friend’s art.

But he wouldn’t say that to them.

Clary frowned at Simon’s obvious displeasure. She took one, smiling reluctantly, and pulled it over her head. “Thanks, Simon,” she said sincerely.

Izzy grudgingly took one. “So he has good taste,” she muttered. “I already knew that, anyway.”

Jace didn’t reach for one. One hit him right in the face anyway. Simon cackled.

“Man!” he said, muffled by the fabric.

“Sorry,” Simon said, very obviously not sorry.

Izzy laughed. Clary’s lips curled up against her will.

“But Clary,” he added, smiling bashfully, “You can still make a t-shirt… If you want? I mean, we can have more than one shirt. It’s always good to have band merch, you know.”

Clary smiled gratefully. “Thank you,” she said, standing and throwing her arms around him. “You’re the best!”

He laughed, accepting the hug easily.

Izzy pouted. “Oh, I’m not the best?”

Seeing their faces, she snickered. “I’m just kidding,” she said. “I know I’m the queen.”

Jace snorted. “Bitch, please,” he said. “Everybody knows I’m the queen. Alec would agree if he were here.”

“Where is Alec?” Simon asked, a strange expression crossing his face. “I wanted to ask him something. Also, I have a shirt for him.”

Izzy shrugged. “I don’t know. I texted him earlier, he said he was with a friend. He asked me not to push, so… I didn’t.”

Simon blinked. “Huh. Alright then. Maybe later.”

He bit his lip, thinking.

Hadn’t Magnus said he was busy tonight, too? With a friend?

Simon let a grin bloom on his face.

They were both amazing people who needed more friends. Really, it was perfect. How had he not thought of this before?

“What are you grinning about?” Clary asked, eyebrows raised.

“Oh, nothing,” Simon said, eyes sparkling mischievously. “Nothing.”

 

 

ALEC POV

 

Alec grinned at his phone as he walked.

Magnus was, simply put, wonderful. He was a fantastic person to talk to- or rather, in the case, text- because he was full of stories and dumb puns and nerdy references and he always knew just what to say. He was clever, witty, and surprisingly sweet.

Alec could talk to him for hours and not get bored.

They’d been texting back and forth all day, having met up for lunch at a local café (Magnus had recommended their chocolate muffins, which were delicious) and were planning on having another movie night tonight. At Magnus’s place.

“Tonight” meaning “literally in like, two minutes”.

Alec shot a quick text (I’m here) and went to knock on the door.

It flew open before he could even touch the wood.

Magnus was standing in the doorway, grinning. Frankly, he looked stunning (as usual) and Alec momentarily forgot how to breathe.

“Uh… Hi.” Alec said awkwardly.

Magnus’s eyes sparkled. “Hello, Alexander,” he said, sounding rather amused.

He looked him up and down, quirking an eyebrow. “You put in an effort,” he hummed, impressed.

Alec blushed. “Only the best for Star Trek,” he said.

Magnus stepped back to allow him in, and Alec followed him into the apartment.

“Go ahead and sit down,” Magnus called brightly as he glided into the kitchen. “Would you like a drink?”

Alec blinked. “Uh, what kind?” he asked, gingerly sitting on the couch.

Magnus walked back to the doorway, shrugging. “Anything,” he said. “Cocktail? Coffee? Water? You know, I might have Dr. Pepper-”

“Surprise me,” Alec said quietly, smiling.

Magnus wiggled his eyebrows. “Are you sure about that?”

Alec shrugged.

Magnus laughed. “Alright, then,” he said, walking back into the kitchen. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

He came back five minutes later with two bright red drinks, fizzing and popping lightly in their fancy cocktail glasses.

“What is this?” Alec asked, brows drawing together as he took a glass.

Magnus gave him a sly smile. “You’ll have to try it,” he said, taking a sip of his own drink.

Alec’s lips quirked upwards and he took a tentative sip.

After a moment, he frowned slightly. And took another sip.

“Magnus, this is cherry 7up.”

Magnus giggled. “Sorry, I actually looked in my liquor cabinet and it seems Ragnor raided it when I wasn’t looking- likely for a date with his lovely paramour. However, if you prefer Dr. Pepper, I do have-”

Alec couldn’t help but laugh himself, both at Magnus’s slightly flustered expression and the ridiculousness of the whole thing. (Really, it was adorable.)

Besides, he liked cherry 7up well enough, anyway.

He took another sip.

“It’s fine,” he said, smiling into his glass. “So what episode are we on again?”

Magnus grinned, gracefully jumping over the back of the couch and landing on the cushion, drink in hand and somehow undisturbed. He grabbed the remote, flicking on the television and then through the menu. He clicked on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

“Hide and Q,” he read aloud. “Yes! I love Q episodes!”

Alec laughed. “You and my brother,” he said.

“Jake likes Star Trek?” Magnus asked, making a face.

“Jace,” Alec corrected, snorting, “-doesn’t really care for sci fi. No, I mean my little brother. Max.”

Magnus blinked.

“He’s living with my parents,” Alec explained. “He’s a great kid. It’s great, having a little brother.”

“The closest thing I have to a little brother is Simon,” Magnus said wistfully. “I’m an only child. That’s for the best, though, I suppose…” at that last part, he looked a bit distant.

Alec sensed a touchy subject there, and decided to drive situation away from it.

“Simon?” he asked. “As in Simon Lewis?”

Magnus looked surprised. “Yes, actually. Do you know him?”

“He’s a friend of mine- don’t tell him I told you that. You- you made him those t-shirts, right? He was so excited. He even gave me one, it’s in my bag.”

Magnus blushed. “They were Ragnor’s idea, really-”

“And they were really well done,” Alec said. “Really thoughtful.”

He tilted his head, smiling at Magnus.

Magnus took another sip of his drink, not making eye contact. “So are we gonna start this episode or not?” he asked, sounding just a bit high-pitched.

“Of course,” Alec said.

Magnus was still blushing when they started the episode.

Alec didn’t even realize the effect he had on people sometimes.

Chapter Text

MAGNUS POV – and sort of Alec’s too? I’M SORRY THERE’S NO CONCRETE THINGY POV

 

When Magnus woke up, he was groggy, warm, and rather content.

Then someone cleared their throat. Two someones. There was the click of a camera. Multiple clicks.

Magnus knew that smug combination by heart.

His eyes flew open to see Ragnor and Raphael, with their cameras, twin smirks, and perfectly raised eyebrows.

He sat up, Alec’s arm falling from where it was slung loosely around his waist. He’d been basically curled into Alec’s side, head on his shoulder, Alec warm and close and shit, Magnus was definitely blushing and there was no way they were going to let him live this down.

Alec was beginning to sluggishly stir, blinking heavily.

(Their legs were still tangled together, Magnus noted a touch hysterically. He did not need this right now, he had just woken up, and he could hear the smugness radiating of Ragnor right now.)

(Then it again, it was very warm and comfortable.)

“I see you two had a good time last night,” said Ragnor.

Raphael snickered. “Ah, yes, the Lightwood we’ve heard so much about.”

“We have such sweet pictures,” Ragnor said with a shit-eating grin, waving his phone back and forth.

Magnus was going to kill them.

“W-what?” Alec managed. He looked around, seeming to realize what had happened. It took a moment to click, and when it did, he blushed deep red.

“Oh, we d-didn’t-” he stuttered.

“We were watching Star Trek,” interjected Magnus helpfully, sending them an I’ll fight both of you look. “Get your heads out of the gutter.”

Ragnor laughed. “Of course, my friend.”

“Besides,” Magnus replied, “I’d say you had a much better night.” He looked very pointedly at yet another hickey on Ragnor’s neck. “What are you,” he said, shaking his head mock-exasperatedly at Raphael, “A vampire?”

“Oh, yes, because I’m a sucker for puns off my band name,” Raphael said.

That little shit.

“How dare you out-pun me in my own home?” Magnus cried out dramatically, slumping back as if to faint (coincidentally basically draping himself over Alec), “After all I’ve done for you?”

Raphael grinned. “Ah, but this is my boyfriend’s home as well, yes?”

Magnus sat up again, untangling his legs from Alec and sighing. “I need a drink.”

Oh, that’s what I forgot to tell you!” Ragnor cried. “I knew there was something. My friend, we have used all of the liquor.”

Magnus rolled his eyes, affection creeping up on him whether he willed it or not. “Yes, I had noticed, when I served my guest here some cherry soda instead of a nice glass of wine,” he said. “No, I meant coffee.”

Raphael sniffed in disdain. “Horrible drink.”

“Ooh, could I have a cup?” Ragnor asked.

Alec finally pulled himself all the way into a sitting position, apparently having recovered from his sleepiness and initial embarrassment.

“Would you like any, Alec?” Magnus asked.

Alec blinked. “Uh, sure. Thank you.”

Magnus walked into the kitchen, humming.

Ragnor and Raphael exchanged a look, then turned, as one, to look at Alec.

“What are your intentions with our friend?” Raphael immediately said.

“I swear if you hurt him I’ll tear off your legs-” Ragnor added.

“-and all of your other limbs-” Raphael continued seamlessly.

“-and trust me, it won’t be pleasant.” Ragnor finished proudly.

(Unbeknownst to Alec, they had rehearsed that- and similar lines- for hours, just for anyone who might hurt their friend. They were quite proud at how seamless it had gotten.)

“I- we’re friends.” Alec stumbled. “I- I don’t want to hurt him.”

“Friends. Wait. They’re friends?” Raphael frowned, turning to Ragnor. “I thought they were dating.”

Ragnor sighed. “No, you idiot-”

“Well, they were practically cuddling when we came in!” Raphael defended.

Alec blushed.

 “Totally platonic,” Ragnor deadpanned. “Friends.” He raised an eyebrow pointedly, apparently communicating something that Alec wasn’t getting.

Raphael got it, though, because he said, “Ohhh, right.like Ragnor had just explained everything.

“Nice to know you care,” Magnus said, entering the room with three mugs, “But you do know the kitchen isn’t that far away?”

“Of course we care,” Ragnor said at the same time that Raphael said, “Pssh, care my ass!”

“Either way, there’s no need to threaten Alec,” Magnus said, setting down their mugs.

Alec ended up getting a rather brightly colored rainbow mug. The coffee was decent.

“Well, then, while we’re here…” Ragnor grinned. “Alec, has he told you about the time we became pirates in like, what, 5th grade?”

“It was 7th grade, and sinking that ship was your fault! I wasn’t even supposed to be on that field trip!” Magnus immediately shot back. “And you know full well we weren’t actual pirates!”

 

As the morning went on, Alec actually found he was enjoying himself in their company. Ragnor and Raphael were obviously very close to Magnus- and they were interesting in their own right, too. And they had no qualms about embarrassing him, which was amusing.

They ended up getting breakfast together (“No, Raphael, you are not cooking, not after last time-”) at the café he and Magnus had eaten lunch at yesterday. Apparently their breakfast was quite good, too.

(“Their sandwiches are atrocious, though,” Raphael had claimed disdainfully.)

They eventually parted ways (Ragnor and Magnus for class, Raphael for an early shift at the hotel he worked at, and Alec to go meet his sister) but Alec found it was one of the best morning he’d had in a while.

Usually, he stayed up late studying or reading, slept in a bit, got a boring, healthy breakfast by himself, then eventually met with his siblings and their friends until his first class started.

Alec found that, yeah, he could get really get used to this. It wasn’t that he didn’t love his friends- but there, he was always the calm one, always watching their backs. In a way, it was like all of them were his little siblings. He loved them more than anything, but he couldn’t really loosen up, no matter what they insisted. It wasn’t their fault, and he didn’t blame them for a second- and he certainly wouldn’t trade them for anything. But it was a nice change, too.

It’d been fun.

(Hadn’t Izzy said he should have more fun?)

Mentally, he decided that yes, he had to do this again.

 

IZZY POV – LATER, I GUESS? LIKE DAYS. WEEKS, EVEN. I’M SORRY I’M JUST NOT USED TO THIS WHOLE ‘TIME’ THING OKAY?

 

Alec was acting weird.

Really weird.

She knew he had his own life outside them- well, actually, no. She didn’t know that.

It wasn’t that she didn’t want him to have other friends and such, she just wished he’d trust her enough to meet them. Or him, if it was a boy.

These past few weeks, he was always busy, saying he was meeting a friend for lunch or he’d say he was studying but his apartment would be empty.

He was always texting someone, smiling at his phone in a way she’d never seen him smile before- small and bashful and bright, so ridiculously happy it made her want to cry.

Those smiles were the reasons he hadn’t pushed. Whoever it was, they were making her brother happy. So happy, and she didn’t want to take that away.

But- why couldn’t he just tell her? It was so frustrating.

There he goes again. Laughing softly, moving to text back a reply.

She was tempted to try and read over his shoulder, but there was no way she wouldn’t get caught.

She decided to go with the direct approach.

“Alec, who are you texting?”

“U-uh, w-what? No one. Nope.” he coughed, trying to pocket the phone, blushing.

“Alec.” she said, narrowing her eyes.

He sighed. “Izzy, he’s just- he’s just a friend, okay?”

“So?” she said eagerly. “I’m so happy for you, big brother!”

He looked a bit startled at that. “Really?”

“Really!” Izzy laughed. “You deserve happiness. Besides…” she wiggled her eyebrows mischievously. “I know the beginnings of a crush when I hear it.”

Alec blushed. “It’s not like that,” he protested weakly.

“Not like that yet,” she winked.

He ducked his head bashfully. “I- I really like him, Izzy.”

“So…” she smirked, “Tell me about him. How’d you meet?”

Alec pursed his lips. “I can’t.”

She blinked in utter surprise. “What?”

He refused to make eye contact. “I’m sorry, Izzy, I just- I can’t. Not yet.”

It hurt a bit. A lot. Did he not trust her anymore? He used to share everything with her, just like she shared everything with him. They didn’t have secrets, not really.

“It’s not you,” he pleaded, seeing her bewildered and hurt expression. “I swear! I’m just- I’m not ready. It’s like- it’s like this one little thing that’s mine, you know? Just for a while.”

He sounded a bit miserable, hoping, begging for her to understand. And really, she did. She knew exactly what he meant. It was how she had felt with Meliorn: it’d been nice and sweet and sexy at first, but she hadn’t been ready to share it. She’d enjoyed it while it had lasted, and it had been hers. As much as she loved her brother, her friends, it was nice not to have share something. To have something to herself.

It still stung, but Izzy could respect what her big brother wanted. She wanted what was best for Alec.

“It’s alright,” she said with confidence she didn’t quite feel. “Honeymoon period, right?”

Alec laughed weakly, pulling her into a hug.

“Thank you,” he whispered into her ear. She smiled into his hair and hugged him tighter.

“I love you, hermano,” she said.

“Love you too, Izzy,” he mumbled.

 

Her brother deserved happiness.

 

ALEC POV

 

These last few weeks had been a blend of strange and wonderful.

He’d seen more of both Magnus (sweet, beautiful Magnus) and his friends- Alec’s friends, too, really- and even Simon.

Simon had shown up to one of their movie nights (he multiple comments about how cute they were: “platonically cute” he’d say sarcastically, “so platonic”) and they’d all marathoned Lord of the Rings and painted each other’s nails. Raphael and Ragnor had turned up halfway through, and it had ended with Magnus painting Raphael’s nails a lovely shade of hot pink, Ragnor painting Magnus’s neon green, Simon painting Alec’s light sky blue, and so on.

It’d been great.

But it also meant less time with his friends, less time studying.

His grades weren’t declining, somehow- he’d always thought that if he stopped working for a second, they’d drop like a stone- but they were still very good, if a bit wobbly. He still found time easily to do his homework.

But Jace, Clary, and Izzy were all wondering what he was doing. And what was he supposed to say? Oops, I accidentally made friends with Magnus Bane, that guy you all hate, and now I have a huge gay crush on him?

Alec sighed. That was his other problem.

He couldn’t help it. Magnus was just so- so…

He was the kindest guy Alec had ever met. He was selfless and thoughtful and sweet and clever and just absolutely brilliant- and if Alec had thought he was gorgeous before, now, up close, especially late on those nights when he was half-asleep and his makeup was smudged or removed altogether, those nights where his eyes sparkled and he wore sweatpants and an old T-shirt that was too big for him, he was downright beautiful. Inside and out- impossibly, wonderfully beautiful.

How could Alec not develop a huge crush on him?

Unfortunately, he had absolutely no idea what do about it.

What if he asked Magnus out and then he was weirded out? Alec could handle being rejected, and he knew that if Magnus didn’t return his feelings, he would never be disgusted or be intentionally cruel to Alec. He wasn’t that kind of person. But what if he was just a bit… creeped out? His friend having a crush on him?

Alec put his head in his hands. What to do?

Chapter Text

ALEC POV

 

“Okay, so who is it?” Jace demanded, sitting across from Alec.

“What?” Alec asked, startled. He’d been studying, occasionally stopping to look at his phone, and honestly hadn’t been expecting to see any of his friends until maybe lunchtime.

Jace gave him a look. “You know what I mean, Alec.”

“I really don’t,” Alec said. His phone vibrated. He checked it, smiling softly, then typed a reply.

“That!” Jace exclaimed, pointing at the phone. “That’s what I’m talking about!”

“Surprisingly,” Alec said dryly, “I’m not dating Siri.”

“So you are dating someone!”

“No! Jesus, Jace, I’m not dating anybody!”

“You totally have a secret boyfriend!”

Alec winced. “No, I don’t.”

“Then where do you keep going when you say you’re ‘just going out’? Or when you say you’re studying but you’re not at home or the library?” he asked. Before Alec could even open his mouth, Jace answered his own question. “You’re going on dates with your mystery lover!”

“Jace-”

He gasped. “Oh! I bet it’s the guy you hooked up with at that party!”

“Jace!” Alec yelled. “They’re not dates, okay?!”

Jace stopped, then gave a sly grin. “So you are meeting up with someone!”

Alec sighed, putting his head in his hands. “They’re not dates,” he groaned.

Jace punched the air victoriously. “Ha! I knew it! I knew you were off with some mystery boy!”

“They’re not dates!”

“Doesn’t mean it’s not a mystery boy who you like,” Jace sang. “You like-like him!”

“What is this, fourth grade?” Alec grumbled. “Look, just leave it.”

“So…” Jace asked. “Who is it?”

Alec blushed, looking down. “None of your business,” he said.

He wasn’t sure why he was so insistent on not telling his siblings.

There were lots of reasons, he supposed, but none of them were really that solid.

For one, Izzy- and on varying levels, the others- strongly disliked Magnus, and he didn’t want that- for him and Magnus. But he knew he’d have Simon’s support, and it’s not like they were bad people. They were his family, really, and he knew it might take them a while, but they’d adjust. At worst, they’d keep quiet about their dislike… Hopefully.

Another thing, it was nice, the way it was- it was a part of the world that was his. He loved his family, and he was happy to share everything with them, but that didn’t mean he didn’t enjoy having this private thing to himself: Magnus, and all the wonders that came with his friendship, Ragnor and Raphael and even Simon, all of it was different and in a way, it was his.

And finally, he was just plain scared. What if they didn’t get along? What if he lost Magnus, or his family, or all of them?

Jace huffed. “Oh, come on,” he said. “I can even help you seduce him!”

Alec raised an eyebrow. “Oh, no,” he said. “Not after last time you tried to seduce someone. It took weeks for your eyebrow to grow back.”

“How was I supposed to know she was a pyromaniac?”

Alec rolled his eyes. “She wasn’t, Jace, you got so drunk you tripped and fell on one of the torches.”

“Why were there torches, then? Not my fault.”

“We were at a luau, Jace, there were torches everywhere. You tried to spin one around and called yourself a firebender. You set fire to a tent. We still can’t go back there. We’re banned.”

“What about that one girl? Lucy? She was nice.”

“Okay, first of all, Lucy was short for Lucifer and she was actually a boy. You thought she was a girl. And you tried to learn Klingon to impress him and then he verbally kicked your ass.”

“Whatever happened to him?” Jace wondered.

“Actually, I dated him for a while. He was nice enough, but he ended up getting back with his ex.”

“Oh.” Jace frowned. “Wait, really?”

“Yes, really, you idiot.”

“Well, then he was stupid,” Jace said, elbowing him. “You’re a catch. Which I need to tell- by which I mean threaten- mystery boy. So who is he?”

“Jace,” Alec groaned. “Just- just leave it for now? Please?”

Jace gave him a long look, lips pursed, eyes dark and considering.

Then he smirked. “You owe me one, bro,” he said. “Also you’re paying for lunch.”

Alec sighed, both in relief and mock-annoyance. “You better not get anything expensive.”

 

MAGNUS POV sort of alec’s too? I’m soRRY – later

 

Magnus was having a pretty great day, actually.

These past few weeks had been… well, they’d been amazing.

Alec was amazing. He didn’t even seem to realize his own worth!

He was witty, interesting, and unbearably sweet. He always knew how to cheer Magnus up, and not only that, but he was simply hilarious.

Gorgeous, intelligent, and kind- how could he be so goddamn perfect?

Magnus knew it was hopeless- he’d been bound to fall for Alec from the start.

Well, perhaps that was being a bit dramatic. But the point was, now he had an enormous, laughably obvious crush on his new friend. A one-sided, completely hopeless crush.

On one hand, Alec was definitely gay- it was one of the many subjects they had talked about in the past few weeks. That was another thing Magnus loved about spending time with him- he was never bored. Their conversations ranged from stories about the difficulties they’d each faced, to debating Harry Potter theories, to ridiculous conversations such as the likelihood of werewolves hiding in plain sight or the possibility of an incubus helping with a sex addiction.

It was simply fantastic.

But on the other hand… Gay or not, it was unlikely Alec would want to date Magnus of all people, wasn’t it? Why would Magnus risk the friendship- the trust- between them for a relationship that might not even last?

After all, Magnus’s relationships never lasted. His friends stuck around, but his lovers… they always left him.

And it was rarely their fault.

Sometimes it was college, or moving, or a job. Sometimes it was an ex or a new lover. Sometimes, they to put it frankly, just plain got tired of him.

Etta had told him “she wanted something serious”. Imasu had moved away. Michael had got back with his ex. Camille had never loved him in the first place.

The common denominator was that he was simply wasn’t enough.

He was good in bed, good to be around for a while, but not good enough to stay with.

And he wasn’t sure if he could bear to lose Alec.

It scared Magnus, how quickly he’d gotten attached to him. But he knew he wouldn’t change it.

He also knew that if Alec did break his heart, Ragnor and Raphael and Simon would be there for him, like they always were. (They were all friends with Alec, too, but they cared about him, right?)  

Magnus knew they were all loyal and stubborn and they’d always had his back.

“Hey, Magnus,” Alec grinned, falling into step beside him.

“Oh, hi,” Magnus smiled, blinking away his dark thoughts the best he could.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, m’dear. How has your day been?”

Alec looked vaguely suspicious, but he didn’t push. He never made Magnus talk about things he didn’t want to talk about it.

“Not bad,” he replied. “Nothing particularly special, though. You?”

Magnus shook his head, giving him a small smile. “No, nothing. Did you want to watch some Disney tonight? I’ve been meaning to rewatch Atlantis for a while.”

“Sure,” Alec said. “Isn’t that the one with the badass white-haired woman and animated Daniel Jackson?”

Magnus shrugged. “Basically. I haven’t seen it in years, though.”

“It’s a good choice,” Alec grinned.

“Hey, Magnus!” someone called, jogging to catch up to them.

Magnus closed his eyes in annoyance momentarily, preparing himself for this conversation, then turned. “Hello, Malcom!” he said.

Malcom approached, another friend in tow- Matt.

“Is this your newest boytoy?” Malcom winked, nodding towards Alec.

“No,” Magnus said, calm despite his irritation.

“You know, I didn’t see you at that party last night, man! Woolsey was totally looking for you.”

Magnus tried to look interested. “And why would that be?”

“The usual reason,” Malcom laughed genially, “’Cause he wants a piece of that!”

Magnus looked vaguely uncomfortable, Alec looked… kind of mad.

Oh no. Why is Alec mad? Magnus thought, worried despite himself.

Matt snorted from behind Malcom. “Of course he was,” he muttered. “Everyone wants some slut.”

Malcom looked- actually, he looked surprisingly offended- but Alec looked furious.

“Shut up,” he said, voice low and dangerous in a way Magnus had never heard. He suddenly remembered Alec mentioning that he’d been taking self-defense classes since he was eight.

Matt, however, either didn’t notice or didn’t care. “What, defending your whore?” he sneered. Alec looked like he was about to tear out Matt’s throat.

Magnus put a hand on his shoulder. “Alec,” he said softly, “It’s not worth it. Besides, it’s nothing I haven’t hear before.”

Alec’s fists clenched at that. Matt hadn’t stopped talking.

 “Please,” he laughed derisively, “He’s pathetic. He’d let his worst enemy fuck him-”

Alec lunged forward and punched him, hard, and he spun back, blood pouring from his nose.

Magnus gasped, Malcom frowned, and on the floor, Matt hissed angrily. “I’ll report you, Lightwood-” he began, but Matt interrupted him.

“Shut up,” he said, anger lingering in his tone. “I recorded what you said. There’s no way he’ll get suspended.”

He turned to Magnus. “Hey, man, I’m sorry about that- that’s not cool. You’re a pretty great dude.”

Magnus blinked, a bit stunned at the turn of events, but nodded. “Uh- thank you,” he said.

Alec frowned. He looked like he wanted to say something, because even if he didn’t mean to be, Malcom was, in a way, just as bad, but Magnus shot him a look.

Maybe later then.

 

Magnus was struck with the feeling that- Alec really cared. It wasn’t that he’d doubted their friendship, but- in the face of those nasty words, things that he heard on a daily basis that still stung, Alec had defended him.

This was the second time Alec had punched someone in his defense.

 

The professor Matt had reported to seemed very angry when he called the three of them into his office.

Magnus felt a little apprehensive- that is, until he started yelling at Matt. Apparently, Malcom had given him the recording. He gave Alec a light punishment (“Quite honestly, if I had it my way, we wouldn’t be punishing you, but you can’t go punching people, even for a good reason like this”) and he asked Magnus stay after the others left.

“Sit,” he suggested.

Professor Garroway was a good man. Magnus had one of his classes, and he was a fantastic professor as well. He kept the class interesting.

However, he wasn’t Magnus’s biggest fan. Magnus was what you could call a troublemaker. He had his own ideas, and he was never afraid to express them.

Magnus sat.

“Do you hear these things often?” Professor Garroway asked, lips tight.

Magnus blinked. “I suppose so, yes,” he said. “Quite honestly, it no longer bothers me.”

Professor Garroway raised an eyebrow. “Somehow, I don’t believe that.”

He sighed, leaning back in his chair. “I wish I could round up every one of them and give them a stern lecture, but there’s nothing I can do, is there?”

“No, not really,” Magnus said, as offhandedly as he could manage. “Really, it’s fine. I have my friends. I don’t need them all to like me.”

Professor Garroway gave him a considering look. “Look, kid,” he said, “I get it. You’re strong, you don’t need my help. But hey, you need anyone to talk to- or if one of these dumbasses pulls this kind of crap again- I’m here.”

He paused, then frowned. “Please don’t tell anyone I called my students dumbasses.”

Magnus laughed. “I won’t.”

“You’re free to go, then, Mr. Bane.”

“Magnus,” Magnus corrected. “And- thank you.”

After that, he left quickly. Alec was waiting outside the door. “Are you alright?” he asked.

“Fine,” Magnus smiled. “Alec- you… You didn’t have to do that, you know.”

Alec wouldn’t make eye contact. “Yeah, well, you’re my friend,” he said. “And I wasn’t about to let that asshole-”

Magnus snorted. “What, smear my name? I don’t exactly have the best reputation, Alec. That kind of thing is perfectly normal, varying from Matt to Malcom. Sometimes it’s the sleeping around that bothers them, sometimes it’s the rumors, or the bisexuality- you know, I was once told that I need to choose whether I was gay or straight? Actually, I’ve been told that multiple times.”

“That’s stupid,” Alec said, frustrated. “People are stupid. What was it that Ragnor says sometimes? Something about sheep?”

Magnus laughed. “Oh, don’t let him rub off on you.”

“Did you still wanna watch Atlantis: the Lost Empire tonight?” Alec asked.

“Of course! I wouldn’t miss it.”

“Will anyone else be there?”

“I think Raphael and Ragnor are busy- or at least, they told me it’d be best if I didn’t go to our apartment tonight, so maybe we should go to your place.”

Alec laughed. “Sure,” he said. “And Simon?”

Magnus shrugged. “I think he and Maureen are doing something? I’m not sure. I could text him, if you like.”

“Oh- it’s cool,” Alec said. “No- I- that’s fine. Do you mind?”

“Not at all,” he beamed. “Not at all!”

Chapter Text

MAGNUS POV – that night

 

It ended up being another of their all-night sleepover marathons, which honestly surprised neither of them.

They had popcorn and actual cocktails this time, although they had ended up switching over to water after a while so as not to have a hangover in the morning.

It was long after Atlantis was over, after The Emperor’s New Groove and The Little Mermaid, that they began to fall asleep.

They had curled up fairly close, as there was currently only one blanket, which they were sharing.

One of Alec’s arms was loosely thrown around Magnus’s shoulders- who didn’t seem to have any protests- and they were pressed together under the blanket.

It wasn’t really an uncommon occurrence, the “totally platonic cuddling” as Raphael sarcastically called it. That never failed to earn a disgruntled look from Magnus and a chuckle from Ragnor.

“I really like you,” Alec declared quietly.

Magnus stirred, blinking awake blearily.

Alec shook his head to himself. “I mean, I like you. Like, I’d really like to take you on dates and kiss you and hold your hand and get you flowers and… stuff like that.”

Magnus suddenly felt very, very awake. Or very asleep. Was he dreaming? He must be.

Alec sighed. He was rambling. “It’s why I didn’t want to invite Simon,” he admitted. “But I- I don’t know; I didn’t get up the courage to tell you. And now you’re asleep, and I’m talking to myself. Wonderful.”

Magnus lifted his head, a small smile curling his lips, shy and a touch sleepy. “I’m not asleep, darling,” he murmured.

Alec jumped, going tense. “Magnus!”

Magnus curled closer into his embrace. “I’d like that,” he said softly into Alec’s shirt. He was too tired to think straight, he just hoped this wasn’t some cruel dream. He felt wide awake, but who knew?

“L-like what?” Alec asked, heart pounding.

“Dating you,” Magnus said easily, still muffled by Alec’s shirt. “You’re amazing.”

Alec blushed. “R-really?”

“Of course,” Magnus said, lifting his head again to look Alec in the eyes.

“Can…” he hesitated, looking at Magnus’s earnest expression, then plowed on, “Can I kiss you?” Alec asked softly.

Magnus could only nod, entranced, because this wasn’t a dream, was it?

Alec’s eyes flickered shut, and he leaned forward, kissing Magnus softly but desperately, one arm winding around Magnus’s waist to pull him impossibly closer, the other up his back so he could tangle his fingers through Magnus’s unbrushed hair. His lips were warm, their breaths mingling as they finally pulled apart.

Pulled apart was a strong way to put it- their arms remained wrapped around each other, their lips less than an inch apart, their eyes wide and shining.

“You’re gorgeous,” Magnus breathed. “Beautiful-”

Alec kissed him again, unable to stop, because now he could, because this was his, he could have this- it was theirs.

Magnus gladly reciprocated, hardly able to believe this was real, that Alec was here, kissing him.

“Does this mean you’ll take me on a date, Mr. Lightwood?” Magnus asked teasingly into Alec’s lips, their noses brushing and eyes alight.

“Of course,” he whispered back, leaning forwards again.

They would talk later- for now, they lost themselves in the kiss.

“We could- move this to the bed,” Alec said hesitantly.

Magnus froze in his arms. Already? He wanted-?

Magnus wasn’t sure he was ready for that, but… if Alec really wanted…

“Not for sex,” Alec added hastily, seeing his expression. “I don’t think- either of us are ready for that. I- I mean, just... it’s more comfortable. For sleeping.”

Magnus pressed a quick kiss to his lips. “You never cease to amaze me, Alexander,” he said breathlessly.

Alec smiled bashfully.

They found their way into the bedroom, slipping under the covers and curling up together.

Magnus had never slept better.

 

 

 

ALEC POV – the next morning

 

When Alec woke up he felt warm and content.

He stirred, eyes flickering open, before the memories of late last night hit him like a train.

Magnus slumbered on in his arms, a soft smile on his face even in his sleep. They were in Alec’s bed, fully clothed and cuddling.

“Platonic, my ass,” he muttered, allowing himself a small grin.

It hadn’t been a dream.

“Damn right,” someone said.

He started, looking up to see Raphael. There was a soft look in his eyes, and he was smirking.

“Ragnor owes me twenty bucks,” he said. Alec blushed.

“Wait,” Raphael said, raising an eyebrow, “You two are dating now, right?”

“I think so,” Alec squeaked.

“Mmmm… I hope so,” Magnus mumbled into his side. “It- it wasn’t a dream, then?”

Oh. That was nice to know. Alec wasn’t the only one who had worried that he’d somehow fantasized the whole thing.

“Hey, Raphael,” Magnus said, words still slurring slightly, lifting his head. “What are you doing here, anyway?"

"Looking for you, you idiot. We had planned on going to breakfast together, remember? But I can see you might have..." his gaze slid to Alec mischievously, "-other plans, now."

Alec thought to protest, after all, they could always have their date later, but Raphael sent him a look. Don't you dare.

"Fair enough," Magnus said, "Did you hear about Matt?”

Raphael snorted. “Of course. The asshole had it coming. Good on you, Alec.”

“What do you mean, ‘Of course’?” Alec asked.

Raphael gave him a look. “Everyone knows about it. You not only punched him, you got him suspended. Just for a while, but still. He was a dick to everyone, so you might get some flowers.”

Alec made a noise of dissatisfaction. “Ugh. I hate being the center of gossip.”

“Once there was a rumor that I was a transvestite.” Magnus offered, sitting up all the way. Now Alec was more curled into his side then the other way around. Alec hummed. “I never actually disproved it. It’s not really insulting.”

“Magnus, you didn’t just ‘not deny’ it,” Raphael said, “You dressed up as Frank-n-Furter for a whole week.”

Alec laughed, nuzzling into Magnus’s shoulder. “You’re adorable.”

Raphael groaned. “Ugh. You’re going to be that couple, aren’t you?”

“What couple?” Magnus asked innocently.

“The sickeningly adorable one!” Raphael exclaimed. “Ugh. I’m going to go get my twenty bucks from Ragnor. Get dressed into some proper clothing, you heathens.”

“Sweatpants are proper clothing, Raphael!” Magnus called after him. “Just because you wear suits to bed, doesn’t mean we have to!”

Raphael flipped him the bird over his shoulder as he rounded the corner.

Alec sat up a bit, leaning to kiss Magnus softly.

Magnus smiled into the kiss, but then pulled away. “We really should get dressed, darling,” he said.

“Alright,” Alec conceded. “But then…” he shyly ducked his head. “I could take you out to breakfast?”

Magnus sighed happily. “That sounds wonderful, my dear.”

There was a loud, “God damn it, you couldn’t have waited one more week?” from the next room, followed by Raphael cackling.

(His cackling was quickly cut off, replaced by kissing noises that Alec tuned out.)

As Magnus went to retrieve his change of clothing- really, he had a space in the closet for sleepover clothes, how long had they been dating already? -Alec grinned to himself as he got undressed, ready to take a shower.

He was dating Magnus Bane.

He was dating Magnus Bane.

 

ISABELLE POV – idk I think so?

 

Alec was in the weirdest mood all day.

He wouldn’t stop smiling. He was a lot quicker to laugh. He was wearing a purple scarf. Where had he even gotten a purple scarf? Alec rarely wore color, much less a bright purple scarf.

Not only that, but rumor said he’d punched someone and gotten them suspended!

It was, on one hand, one of the weirdest things she’s experienced in a while. On the other, he seemed so goddamn happy.

It’s not like he was necessarily overly cheerful, he was just- smiling. A lot.

Isabelle looked up to see him smiling that smile- sweet and confident and achingly happy- and typing into his phone.

Of course. Mystery guy.

She’d asked a few times, on and off, and he always blushed and said just leave it, Izzy, please? with that pleading tone that she couldn’t ignore.

She sighed heavily.

They were at lunch, Clary and Jace were off doing who knows what (something about an art project and possibly nude modelling?) and Simon was at band practice, so it was just them.

“Alec,” she sighed finally.

He looked up, giving her a lopsided grin. “Yes?”

“So,” she said. “Are you ready to tell me who mystery guy is yet?”

Alec hesitated.

That was new.

“I- he- ugh.” He exhaled heavily, putting his head in his hands and ruffling his hair nervously. “Promise you won’t be mad?”

Isabelle blinked. “You’re going to tell me?”

“Yes,” Alec said. “I- you deserve to know. I kissed him. Last night, I mean. And if we’re gonna properly date, he’s not… he’s not gonna be my dirty secret, you know?”

“Does it have anything to do with you punching Matt? Or was that just a rumor?”

Alec flushed. “Yes,” he said, pulling out his phone.

He looked down at the screen, biting his lip as he scrolled, focusing hard.

“What are you doing?”

“Looking for a good picture-” he replied, not tearing his eyes from the screen.

Isabelle’s brow furrowed.

Finally, his eyes lit up. “Found one!”

He turned the phone around, and the breath left Isabelle’s lungs.

Two faces crowded the screen, laughing together, eyes sparkling. In the photo, her brother was smiling (he never smiled in pictures) and he was looking at the person next to him like he was the sun, and the man looked directly at the camera, evidently holding it and guiding the picture. He had his own grin on, bright and shimmering and happy.

It was Magnus Bane.

Her brother and Magnus Bane.

“Is this why you didn’t want to tell me?” she asked faintly.

He ducked his head. “Partially,” he said.

“Did you hook up with him at the party?” she asked, voice a bit dull.

“No!” he exclaimed. “We haven’t had sex- our first kiss was last night! He’s just- he’s amazing, Izzy. He’s sweet and funny and clever and he cares so much- I mean, I just plain like him... A lot.”

Isabelle sighed deeply. “Brother, I still think you’re making a big mistake. What about Camille? What about when he inevitably breaks your heart?”

But before he could even open his mouth to defend Magnus, eyebrows pinching together like they always did when he was frustrated, she said, “But I respect your choices, Alec.  I trust you. I just- I don’t want to see you hurt, is all.”

He looked away. “I know.”

She punched his shoulder lightly, trying to lighten the mood. “Now, what does this have to do with punching Matt?”

Alec frowned. “He- he said some really nasty things to Magnus.”

“You punched him because he insulted your boyfriend?” she said, raising her eyebrows. She sounded torn between laughing and incredulity.

He blushed. “Friend, at the time- and you didn’t hear it, Izzy, he said some awful things. He said- he was a slut, and that-” he broke off, shuddering. “-he was just nasty, alright?”

“I believe you, big brother,” Isabelle said. “He was an ass, anyway. He had it coming.”

He laughed a bit unsteadily.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

Alec hugged her. “Thank you.” he whispered.

“For what?”

“For trying,” he said. “And- for the record… I don’t think he’s going to. Hurt me, that is.”

That’s probably what Camille thought, she thought darkly to herself.

Isabelle refused to say that out loud, instead choosing to tighten her grip. “I love you, hermano,” she said. “And I’ll be here for you, however this ends.”

However badly, she added silently. I'll be there for you, big brother.

 

Chapter Text

MAGNUS POV – the breakfast date

 

Magnus was on cloud nine at this point.

Alec had kissed him.

Alec had kissed him.

Alec had kissed him.

No matter where he put the italics, it was a beautiful sentence.

Even “Alec had kissed him!” sounded wonderful.

It wasn’t so much the words as their meaning- that Magnus had been moping internally for weeks, months even, for the dumb idea that Alec could never possibly like him like that- when this whole time maybe they could have been kissing.

Well, perhaps not.

All those nights cuddling- yes, cuddling, not platonic cuddling- on the couch, watching movies and TV shows and playing the occasional video game (which they both, for the most part, sucked at- although Magnus found himself good at the hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes kind of thing while Alec seemed to take more to the puzzles) had been building up to this.

Building up to a breakfast date. With Alec.

Possibly with eggs benedict and muffins and kissing.

Alec was still getting dressed, having shooed off Ragnor and Raphael (“We’ll leave you to your honeymoon,” Raphael had said, rolling his eyes- but he couldn’t hide the fondness in his expression. Before they left, Ragnor had pulled him aside to say, “I’m happy for you, Magnus. For both of you,” and he almost looked like he was wanted to hug him- then again, Ragnor wasn’t much of a hugger. Either way, it was nice.) and all Magnus could think was, Yes, this is where I want to be.

He then realized he had no idea what to wear.

 

He texted Simon:

Going on date, what do I wear???

Less than a minute later, he got a reply.

S: !!!!!!!!!

S: with alec????

Magnus popped his head in the bathroom (Alec, whom was currently taking a shower, hastily attempted to cover himself, blushing furiously, before realizing he was behind a curtain) and asked if he minded if Simon knew.

Alec said no, he didn’t mind.

Yes :D

 

S: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

After debating what would be good for almost twenty minutes, (Simon wasn’t a fashion expert but he definitely had a good eye) he finally decided on a simple but elegant little number, all loose, flowy cloth and purples and golds with a few touches of blue. It looked rather royal, he thought, and to tie it all together, he added a bright purple scarf.

Simon brought it over (when he got to the door, Simon squealed and threw his arms around him, saying oh my god, I’m so happy for you two! Before handing him the outfit, winking, and finally leaving so Magnus could change.

It was a lot of effort, but it was his first date with Alec, and he wanted it to be as close to perfect as possible.

 

It was all worth it for the look he got when Alec finally got dressed and came out of the bathroom to meet him, wide-eyed and stunned. “U-uh, you look… really nice,” he stuttered, blushing. His eyes traced down Magnus’s body- not greedy, hot, and heavy, but almost sweet, like he was just genuinely admiring the outfit.

It was adorable.

“You look beautiful yourself, m’dear,” Magnus said truthfully. Alec was dressed fairly plainly- his shirt was a bit tighter than usual, and was a dark blue instead of grey, but other than that, he looked largely the same.

(Beautiful.)

Alec bit his lip. “I didn’t dress up, maybe-”

“You look lovely, Alexander,” Magnus said firmly. “Now, shall we go to breakfast?”

Alec gave him a small, shy smile. “Yeah,” he said.

 

They do go to breakfast.

It’s wonderful. Awkward, at first, but wonderful.

 

When they first sit down and order food, it’s a bit awkward.

A day ago, they were really good friends.

Now, they were… well, still really good friends, but now they were really good friends with a mutual knowledge of their also mutual inclination to kiss one another and think thoughts like Wow, he’s beautiful when he’s blushing, or How can anyone be so fucking adorable??? or I wish I could kiss that pout away right now, and then, Well, actually, I could.

But it was awkward.

They weren’t sure where the line between their friendship and this new, wonderful thing they were trying was. Could you talk to your date about the possible uses of dragon blood if it existed, or the likelihood of the moon landing being fake? Debate whether Loki was evil or not, point out the flaws in a popular book series?

Magnus wasn’t sure. He never had before.

Then Alec took a deep breath, apparently preparing himself, and said, “Okay, so I was thinking about this after we watched the Little Mermaid… What would a scientifically accurate mermaid look like? I mean, to go this long undiscovered, they’d probably have to live pretty deep in the ocean, right? So they’re probably bioluminescent and blind. With, like, big, milky eyes, if any eyes.”

It’s exactly the sort of random conversation prompt they would usually debate over takeout.

It’s perfect.

“Would they lay eggs?” Alec continued, “How would that work?”

Magnus considered. “I suppose if their lower half is fish, then they would have to, wouldn’t they? Which means it depends on the type of fish. The type of mermaids? Maybe there’s a lot of different types.”

There’s a short silence, then Alec said, “But would they be sentient?”

 

All in all, it was likely the best date Magnus had ever been on.

It hadn’t been like that, before, comfortable and warm and kind of weird- but in the best way.

Not that he hadn’t loved dating many of the people he had dated- but this… this was new.

And he really, really liked it.

The date had ended with them walking to the school buildings, which weren’t too far away, and Magnus ended up wrapping his scarf around Alec’s neck and kissing him deeply.

They parted ways to go to their respective classes, both donning dazed smiles and the purple scarf still draped around Alec’s neck.

 

ALEC POV

 

“Why the hell are you wearing that?”

Alec turned to Clary, blinking as he snapped out of whatever daze he was in. The three of them were walking down the hallway as they were all heading to the same class. “What?”

“Jeez, your head’s been in the clouds all day,” Simon grinned knowingly.

What?” he repeated, flushing slightly.

“I said, why the hell are you wearing that?" she nodded to the scarf, raising an eyebrow playfully. "It’s not really your style.”

“Wha- oh!” his hand flew to the scarf, fingers playing with the edges. “This? It’s Magnus’s.”

He was definitely blushing now, avoiding her gaze, but an achingly genuine, sweet little smile curled his lips as he fiddled with the scarf.

Simon grinned wider.

“Magnus’s?” she repeated incredulously. “As in- Magnus Bane?”

He ducked his head guiltily, but the smile didn’t leave his face.

“I thought you said you weren’t involved!”

“I wasn’t!”

“You’re wearing his scarf and you’re redder than a fire engine!”

“I said wasn’t.”

“So you are now?”

“Isn’t it great?” Simon finally burst out, flapping his hands about excitedly.

Clary stopped, nearly causing Alec to crash into her. “What?”

“I said, isn’t it great?” Simon said happily, “Oh, they’re adorable!”

Clary frowned, turning back to Alec. “Are you sure this is a good idea? You know what I-”

“Clary, you’re not in charge of my love life,” Alec said firmly, trying not to sound too harsh.

“Wait, no, no,” Simon said, brows beginning to draw together, “What do you mean?”

Clary faltered, suddenly remembering that Simon was friends with Magnus.

“Well, you know,” she tried, trying to express her point with her hands.

“Go on,” he said coldly.

Alec was frowning, too.

“It’s just won’t work!” she said finally, frustrated. “We’re all worried about you, Alec.”

“Why won’t it work?” Alec asked calmly. Dangerously calm.

“He’s,” she made an elaborate gesture with her hands, “and you’re,” she made another gesture, smaller and wavier, “you. A nice guy. Sweet. Way out of his league.”

“Clary, I love you,” Simon said, anger creeping into his tone, “But that’s not okay.”

“Simon-” she tried, but he wouldn’t let her finish.

“Why do you all have such a problem with Magnus?” he demanded. “What has he ever done to you?”

She bit her lip helplessly. “Simon…”

“Don’t tell me it’s because of the fucking rumors,” Simon said, and even Alec looked a little surprised. Simon very rarely cursed. “Because you know that’s bullshit- those horrible things they say about Magnus, they say about Izzy, too, and you know she’s not like that! Neither is he!”

“Camille!” she finally blurted out. “Camille. For me, anyway. She was the nicest girl, and he just- ugh!”

Simon’s face shut down, his expression going blank. “Camille?” he asked flatly. “Camille?”

“We were lab partners! She was always so nice, you know? A bit off, maybe, but nice! Helpful. She certainly didn’t deserve him cheating on her and breaking it off like that! It was horrible, and it was cruel. You know, I heard she’s coming back this year-”

Something dark and afraid flickered over Simon’s expression. There was something cold in his eyes. “I have to go,” he said hurriedly.

“Simon,” she pleaded.

“No, I get it,” he continued. “This wasn’t even your fault. This was her. Why am I surprised that it was her? But if she’s- if she’s coming back-

Alec looked a little lost now. “What? Simon, what about Camille?”

“You didn’t know, huh?” Clary said. “Probably not the only thing he hasn’t told you.”

Alec’s gut twisted a little bit.

On one hand, she had a point. He barely knew anything about what happened with Camille. Magnus had never mentioned it. He didn’t know much about Magnus’s past at all.

On the other hand, he trusted Magnus. He knew him, and he was certainly not the type to go kicking puppies and breaking hearts.

And Simon’s reaction- and the venom he put into the word her, like it had a capital H and a particularly violent, poisonous snake curled around it- was telling. Something wasn’t right here.

“I’m sorry, Alec, I’ll tell you later- if Magnus is okay with it. But- I’ve got to go, I’ll see you guys later.”

“What about class?” Clary called after him as he turned and jogged away.

“This is more important!” he yelled over his shoulder, and he went around the corner and ran out of sight.

She sighed, turning to Alec as they began to walk again. They were definitely going to be a few minutes late.

“I’m sorry,” she said, pursing her lips. Seeing his skeptical expression, she insisted, “No, really, I am. I- I’m not in charge of your love life. I get that. I just- She was nice; you know? She was the first to act like I wasn’t just some… stupid little girl. Not that you all treat me badly,” she added hastily, “Just- I don’t know. She made me feel like we were powerful. Not anybody’s girl, not some redhead from across the country, but like I mattered. Just her presence was empowering. And she wasn’t a bitch about it.”

She frowned, glancing regretfully backwards in the direction Simon had gone. “At least, not to me. I’m beginning to think maybe there was more to the story.”

“No kidding,” Alec muttered, but internally, he wondered. What had happened with Camille? Why did Simon look so… well, the word for it was afraid.

Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.

Chapter Text

MAGNUS POV

 

“Magnus! Magnus!” someone called breathlessly, racing up behind him.

Magnus stumbled to a stop as Simon grabbed his shoulder, panting.

“Sim- Saul?” Magnus said, so startled he almost forgot to “forget” Simon’s name. “What’s wrong? Did you run all the way here? Are you alright?”

I’m fine,” Simon managed, “Whew, I’m out of shape-”

“Is someone else hurt?” Magnus asked, wide-eyed. “Wh-”

“No, no,” he hastily reassured. “But- Magnus. Magnus, she’s coming back.”

Simon’s wide, brown eyes were nervous and fearful. He bit his lip. “Camille. Magnus, I’m so sorry, but I think she’s coming back-”

Magnus felt like the world stopped.

His ears were ringing, everything seemed to go silent, and he found it hard to breathe.

He sank to his knees. Everything felt distant. The air was thick. Simon wasn’t there, no one was, and he could almost hear her voice, feel her lips, sticky with blood-red lipstick, mouthing at his neck, hot breath on his ear as she whispered-

“M-Magnus! Magnus, snap out of it!”

Magnus blinked back into awareness, the world snapping into place, and shivered.

Simon looked even more worried than before, biting his lip so hard he drew a tiny droplet of blood.

He moved to help Magnus up. “Magnus, are you okay?”

Magnus vaguely realized he was still trembling slightly, but allowed Simon to pull him to his feet.

“A-are you sure?” he asked, hating how weak he sounded.

Simon furrowed his brow. “Not completely, but I’m not taking a chance. Magnus, we have to do something!”

Magnus gave an unsteady sigh, running a hand through his hair. “Like what, Simon? We can’t ban her from the grounds.”

Simon looked down. “I don’t know. But- there has to be something we can do!”

“There isn’t,” Magnus said dully. “She’s gonna love every minute of this.”

“I- you know we’ll be there for you every step of the way,” Simon said. “One of us will be with you at all times- no way is that bitch coming anywhere near you!”

“Thank you,” Magnus said quietly. “Have you told Raphael and Ragnor yet?”

“No,” Simon said, “I came straight to you, of course.”

“How-how did you find out, anyway?”

Simon scoffed. “Clary was talking about it.”

Magnus looked surprised. “Really?”

“Yeah. That’s why they don’t trust you- of all the goddamn things, it’s fucking Camille!”

Magnus raised his eyebrows. “Well,” he said, sniffing slightly, “I’m impressed.”

“It’s so frustrating. How is it, even now, she manages to hurt you?” Simon sounded so angry.

Magnus didn’t reply.

He was still shaking and he knew it, but he couldn’t help it. The thought just kept ricocheting around his head- She’s coming back, she’s coming back, she’s coming back-

Simon’s voice cut through the heavy silence that had settled over them. “We could… We could tell them,” he suggested quietly. “You don’t have to. But- then she could never hurt you again.”

“I can’t, Simon,” Magnus’s voice broke. “I’m over her, I’m over it, I just want her out of my life!”

Simon looked at him sadly. “I know,” he said softly. “I know.”

 

CLARY POV

 

Okay, so Clary knew she had fucked up.

Somewhere along the way, she’d fucked up big.

She wasn’t deaf, she could tell how Simon felt about Camille.

He hated her.

That’s what convinced her. Simon didn’t hate anybody, not even Jace, not even creepy old Professor Morgenstern or the guy who had stuffed him in a locker all year back in sixth grade.

But the way he said Camille’s name? He’d spoken it like she was vile, scary, horrifying- something to hate. Clary had never heard him say anything with such icy anger, much less a name.

It was almost scary, really.

But it was also very telling.

It went against everything she knew about Camille.

Clary was sitting in the library, moping over her books and pretending to read.

Magnus was actually not too far away, examining one of the shelves for a book. He didn’t seem to realize she was watching her, because he was humming, expression fairly unguarded and hands flitting over the spines of the books.

No one was with him.

Clary wondered what he thought of Camille coming back. If he knew.

Camille had been… well, how does one describe her?

She was beautiful, sure, and clever, but she never came off too condescending about it- (suddenly, Clary remembers some cruel comment she’d made to some guy- Malcom something? At the time, she hadn’t thought much of it, he was annoying, anyway, but now she felt a little sick-).

It reminded of her of when she’d been a freshman in High School, there’d been this senior named Allison. She’d been the prettiest girl Clary had ever seen, and she was smart and funny and she always knew what to say. She knew all the teachers, she knew all the students; she was confident and everything Clary wanted to be.

She always had this vibe that she was just better, better than Clary, better than the others. But she never acted like it, either. When she talked to you, she made you feel better, too. She made you feel special.

She never once treated Clary like a dumb freshie or a stupid kid, but instead, she somehow treated her like a little sister, like an apprentice. Not quite equal, but special. Important.

Clary had had the biggest crush on her (and maybe, she’d admit, on Camille, too).

Years later, Clary found out she died of a drug overdose. Apparently, she’d been using for years, ever since her boyfriend in her sophomore year had her try some cocaine.

She’d never even known Allison did drugs.

Camille was like that, in a way- she made you feel special. Not quite equal, but right up there with her, on top of the world, partners in crime.

It was almost intoxicating.

Like the drugs Allison had died from.

It startled her, to realize that perhaps Camille had clay feet.

And if Camille had lied- about the breakup, about all those things Magnus supposedly said and did- then Clary really had fucked up big time.

And really, she didn’t even know Magnus.

She wondered that if they’d talked about this sooner, would she have realized?

Simon’s friendship with Magnus was taboo in their friend group, in a way, because none of them liked him much. Clary wasn’t sure why Izzy disliked him, and she knew Jace only found him vaguely irritating- but Alec… Well, apparently Alec felt the opposite of dislike for Magnus.

They didn’t mention it. They certainly didn’t mention Camille.

How wrong was she about Magnus, anyway?

What if this whole time, he was just a really great guy?

She sighed heavily, looking back over to where he was standing. He had evidently found what he was looking for, to be specific, a copy of the Picture of Dorian Gray, and was flipping through the pages and biting his lip as he scanned the pages.

Well, there was a way to find out, she supposed.

She pulled herself out of her chair, feeling both reluctant and excited despite herself.

Clary approached slowly. She felt awkward and unwieldy. Finally, she was almost right behind him.

“Uh- Magnus?” she asked.

He jumped, turning so fast he dropped his book. “Oh, dear,” he said, retrieving it gingerly.

“Luckily, I remember my page number.” Magnus chuckled, looking up with a friendly smile.

Seeing her face, his expression fell for a second- so fast she almost didn’t notice it- and said, “Oh! Clarissa. What a surprise!”

“Magnus,” she said, unsure what to say. Why did she think this was a good idea?

 “Ye-e-es?” he ventured, stretching out the world uncertainly.

She straightened her spine and stuck her hand out. “Hi. I’m Clary.”

He blinked, but accepted the handshake anyway. “Magnus,” he said slowly, as if confused. “But-”

“Yes, I know,” she said, letting go of his hand and fidgeting slightly, “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Magnus asked.

“For not trying,” she said vaguely. “You’re dating one of my best friends. I want to try. To get along with you, that is.”

Magnus beamed. “You have nothing to be sorry for, my dear,” he said cheerfully, slipping a scrap of paper between the two pages of the book and snapping it shut, then slipping it into his bag. “If we’re trying to get along, would you like some coffee?” he asked. “I’ll pay.”

Seeing her uncertain expression, he offered “I could text Simon or Alec to make it less awkward, if you want?”

“How can you- forgive me? So easily? I haven’t exactly been kind to you,” she said, “Nor have I been particularly supportive of your relationship!”

“Well, you haven’t hurt Alec,” Magnus offered, “-nor me, not really. You’re entitled to your opinion, no matter how… unsavory of a picture it paints of me.” He looked away, but his voice remained steady. “It’s not like I haven’t heard of any of it before.”

Clary frowned. “Well, I’m paying for the coffee,” she said.

He smiled hesitantly, and that was that.

 

ALEC POV 

 

“I can’t believe I’m helping you with this,” Alec grumbled, sighing heavily.

“I can’t believe he dyed my hair green!” Jace shrieked, still marching down the hallways. “I’ll have my revenge, Alec, mark my words.”

“I think Clary’s right,” Alec said. “You had it coming.”

“What, I walked into this hair dye? I walked into it ten times?” Jace asked shrilly. “No! It was him, Alec, I know it!”

“How did you even get into a prank war with a professor, anyway?”

“Well, I may have glued his desk to the ceiling. It was a dare,” Jace admitted.

Alec rolled his eyes. “Of course you did. So, again, what are we doing with these balloons?”

He motioned to the several balloons floating above him, then the package in his hands.

“We’re filling his room with them.” Jace said, menacingly shaking his fist (and a handful of balloons). “So it matches his head- full of hot air! I’m leaving that on a note, too. So he gets the symbolism.”

“Professor Garroway isn’t stupid, he’ll probably get it,” Alec said, but he kept walking regardless.

 

When they finally reached into his room, sneaking in with Alec’s rather impressive lock-picking skills (“I knew there was a reason I brought you along!”) and managing to squeeze a good hundred balloons through the doorway as quietly as possible, they each plopped down in a chair.

“What now?” Alec asked flatly, releasing all of the balloons.

“We go get the rest,” Jace said mischievously, dramatically letting go his own balloons.

It was almost two hours later they’d moved all the balloons they could as quietly as they could.

The room was almost completely filled.

As they began to leave, the door creaked open, and the light flickered on. If not for all of the balloons, they’d have been spotted in an instant.

Jace moved to run, but Alec grabbed his arm and hissed, “Stay as still as possible.”

They heard the professor enter, then immediately hit the wall of static-y balloons.

There was a squeak- the squeak of balloon rubbing against balloon, and then laughter.

“Oh- hahaha- not bad at all, Herondale,” he said aloud. “Not bad at all.”

Jace stiffened, clearly expecting him to tell them to come out, but instead he chuckled again, turned the light off, and left, the door clicking behind them. By some miracle, through the sea of balloons that mostly filled the room, he hadn’t spotted them.

Or he had, and he’d let it slide.

Honestly, Alec wouldn’t put it past him.

Once the coast was clear, they began to shift carefully through the balloons, reaching the door they came through and slipping out one at a time.

When they made it outside, they heard shuffling footsteps nearby. They ran all the way out of the building, leaning against a wall outside and exchanging a look.

Alec let out a breathless laugh. “You’re crazy, you know that?”

“You love it,” Jace quipped, winking.

There was a long moment of quiet, just the shared, quiet huffs of laughter breaking the silence.

Alec’s phone vibrated. He pulled it out. It was a text from Magnus.

“Who’s that?” Jace asked, grinning. “Secret boyfriend?”

“Nope,” Alec said, typing a reply, “Just boyfriend.”

Jace’s eyes widened and he clapped excitedly. “Oooh! Yes! I knew it! Who is it, who is it?”

Alec blushed. “Magnus Bane,” he said, “And don’t you start.”

“Start on what?”

Alec rolled his eyes. “He’s a great guy, okay? He’s never pressured me into doing anything, he’s sweet and funny and I like him.

“Jeez, Alec, I was just gonna say congratulations,” Jace said. “I mean Bane is certainly not who I’d pick for you, and he does kind of irritate me, but, well, it’s your love life, I guess.”

Alec cracked a grin, feeling a sudden rush of affection for his brother. “Yeah,” he agreed. “Wanna come meet him? Apparently he has something to show me. At a coffee shop, of all places.”

“At this time of night?”

“Apparently they’re open 24/7.”

 

When they did arrive, Alec had to admit, he was not expecting this.

Magnus was sitting at the oldest, darkest, rattiest booth in the place, nestled into the corner as if to sink into the wall and avoid being seen.

He was with Clary, of all people, and there was an old, ragged cardboard box on the table.

It was full of kittens.

Well, full was a strong word for it. There were four of them.

The two at the table were currently playing with the cats and chattering away.

They both seemed a little tipsy.

“Alec!” Magnus beamed. “Let me introduce you to Chairman Meow, Church, Cleocatra, and the Great Catsby.”

“We spent like, an hour coming up with those names,” Clary added seriously.

“She insisted on the Great Catsby,” Magnus giggled. “I think it’s silly. Which is why I love it. And look at her, aren’t you adorable, Catsby?”

Catsby had a flat, squishy face. She hissed.

Clary laughed, hitting his arm lightly. “Like you’re any better! Chairman Meow? Seriously?”

Magnus mock-glared at her. “I’ll have you know it’s a very clever political joke, biscuit.”

“It’s really not,” she said.

Alec grinned at them, apparently very pleased with the turn of events, and slid into the booth next to Magnus. One arm curled around his waist to pull him in for a kiss, which Magnus gladly reciprocated.

Jace gaped a bit. “Okay, then,” he said, “Maybe some helium escaped those balloons and went into my lungs, and I am now hallucinating. Clary Fray, getting along with Magnus Bane? The horrors!”

Clary glared at him, but Magnus laughed. “All that hot air going to your head, blondie?”

“I already made a hot air joke today!” Jace said. “So your insult is invalid!”

Magnus rolled his eyes, but his lips were curled into a smile.

Alec laughed. “Well, I’m going to get a drink myself,” he said. “You know, why did they even let you have kittens in the café?”

As if to answer his question, one of the baristas approached with what looked to be a glass of warm milk and several lids (the places where the straw would normally go taped up as to make makeshift saucers), a big smile on her face.

“I brought milk for the kittens!” she said. “Oh, hello! Sorry, would you like anything to drink?”

Alec ended up getting a caramel latte on Magnus’s recommendation, despite never having tried one before.

Apparently the whole place was rather taken with the kittens, as various workers kept approaching for totally unnecessary reasons, eventually abandoning excuses just to coo at the kittens.

By the end of the night, the Great Catsby and Cleocatra were both adopted by hardworking employees of the café, Church took a strange liking to Jace (Magnus claimed Church hated him, but Alec saw him sneak Church a treat, and- where had he gotten cat treats, anyway?) and Magnus had ended up excitedly adopting Chairman Meow, the runt of the bunch.

 

“You know,” Alec mused aloud after they had all parted ways with their various cats, “How did you and Clary become friends? In a café with a box of kittens, no less?”

He’d meant to ask earlier, but they’d all kept getting sidetracked.

Magnus smiled, still stroking Chairman Meow’s fur (said cat was purring contently, very happy with his new pet human) and said, “Well, she approached me, actually.”

Alec raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

Magnus nodded thoughtfully. “Yeah. She apologized- for believing the rumors, I suppose- and said she wanted to try to get along. For you. Turns out we have similar interests in art, politics, and cats.”

Alec shook his head, laughing softly. “And the kittens? Fond them in an alley, I suppose?”

“How did you guess?” Magnus asked brightly.

“The free kittens cardboard box helped,” Alec said dryly.

“Well, it could have been a parking lot,” Magnus pointed out. “Or a church doorstep.”

Alec laughed again, stopping to kiss him sweetly. “Sorry,” he breathed when they broke apart, “Couldn’t help myself.”

Magnus gave him a dazed, happy look. “No complaints here, darling,” he said, offering his arm. “Now escort me home, dear?”

“Of course,” Alec said warmly, linking their arms and kissing him on the cheek.

Magnus’s cheeks looked a little red. Well, it is cold outside, isn’t it? Alec thought.

(It was actually not that cold at all. In fact, it was cool at best.)

Chapter Text

 

 

MOSTLY MAGNUS POV, BUT IT LIKE STARTS OUT ALEC’S POV????? IDEK I’M SORRY

 

Alec found that he really, really liked holding Magnus’s hand.

This was their second date, and it was probably horribly cliché, but they were holding hands under the table. Alec’s thumb brushed over Magnus’s knuckles, and he shot Magnus a shy smile.

Magnus beamed back.

The waiter arrived, breaking the moment.

“What would you two like to drink?” he asked.

“I would like some ginseng tea, please,” Magnus said.

“I’ll just have water,” Alec decided.

The waiter nodded, leaving.

“So, of all of our professors, which is the most likely to be a werewolf?” Magnus challenged.

“Professor Garroway,” Alec said, no hesitation. “He used to be a cop, he loves dogs, he’s strong, and the only time I had his class on the day of a full moon, he had a substitute.”

“I feel like you’ve been holding that one in,” Magnus said, impressed.

Alec grinned. “He’s an old friend of Clary’s mom,” he said, “And I’ve had that theory since sixth grade. No one believed me but Jace. Then he tried to throw a silver spoon at him, which, unfortunately, hit him smack in the eye.”

Magnus laughed. “Really? I would’ve loved to have seen his expression.”

“After that,” Alec continued wryly, “He didn’t believe me when I told him Mr. Elias was a wizard.”

“I believe you,” Magnus said solemnly. “He’s great at magic tricks.”

“Okay,” Alec said, “My turn. Which of our professors is most likely to be a secret supervillain?”

Magnus hmmmed. “Either Professor Morgenstern or Professor- what’s her name again? The history teacher with the weird plants everywhere and the long, red hair?”

“I think her last name is Queen.” Alec said. “I’m not actually sure.”

Magnus shrugged. “Either way, I think it’s probably one of them. They’re both creepy as hell.”

“Fair enough,” Alec grinned. “Your turn, love.”

Magnus flushed lightly at the nickname (Why can’t I stop blushing around him? he internally screeched) but said, “How about being a mermaid?”

Alec pursed his lips thoughtfully, unknowingly squeezing Magnus’s hand lightly (they were still holding hands, Magnus was going to die happy).

“I don’t know,” he said finally. “Maybe Professor Garroway- like, the female one, Clary’s mom?”

"Jocelyn,” Magnus confirmed. "I can see it."

Jocelyn? How are you on a first name basis with her?”

Magnus shrugged. “She got me out of a bad foster home once,” he said. “I’d doubt Clary would remember it, but I even stayed with her for a few weeks. It was before she and Professor Garroway were married."

Alec squeezed his hand again, consciously this time.

“I remember,” Magnus continued, “because she offered me a little cookie, and informed me in her poshest voice that fancy people called it a biscuit and because I was a guest, I got to be fancy. I think she wanted to cheer me up.”

Alec gave a quiet laugh, “Sounds like her,” he said. “Is that why you call her ‘biscuit’?”

Magnus grinned. “Of course. Anyway, she told me to call her Jocelyn, and it stuck. I think it was something about me ‘not responding well to authority figures’.

Alec snorted. “Sounds like you.”

Magnus laughed. “So why do you think Jocelyn is a mermaid?”

Alec shrugged helplessly. “She has red hair and she sings well?”

Magnus laughed harder. “Okay, fair enough,” he said. “Fair enough.”

 

Their date went spectacularly, and soon enough, hours had passed by almost without them realizing.

They ended up back at Alec’s apartment, watching Lord of the Rings and bickering over who was most attractive (Magnus argued for a tie between Galadriel and Aragorn while Alec fought hard for Legolas) and crying over the particularly sad scenes (“I’m not crying, you’re crying!” “Magnus, I can literally see- sniff- the tears on your face-” “Your voice is scratchy!” “We’re both crying!”).

Somehow, Magnus was a little surprised that Alec hadn't made a move to- well, sleep with him, but he found he didn't care. 

Because dating Alec is wonderful. Magnus cared so much about this relationship, and he didn't dare risk screwing it up or throwing it away for one night of fun (no doubt mind-blowing fun, though, he's not blind). Because one night of that kind of fun is nothing- nothing- compared to the many, many nights of fun that don't involve sex at all.

Nights like this one, where they spend all night watching movies or TV shows or discussing their favorite books or anything, just spending time with him is wonderful.

And now he could kiss him, and it was like a miracle every time they did.

If Alec didn't want sex, although that was a fairly big assumption to make, then Magnus didn't mind at all.

If he just didn't want sex with him, well, Magnus could work with that.

As long as they could keep doing this.

Magnus wanted to go on many, many more dates with Alec.

He smiled at the thought, leaning his head on Alec's shoulder and sighing happily.

Alec watched him from the corner of his eye, then carefully, as if he expected to rejected (the fool, as if Magnus would ever reject his touch) wrapped an arm around his waist.

Magnus let his smile grow, not resisting as Alec hauled him closer until he was almost sitting on his lap.

Alec pulled a blanket over them, and they both turned their attention back to the screen (not before Alec pressed a shy kiss to his forehead- how could he be so perfect?). Soon enough, Magnus's new cat joined them (Alec pretended to dislike the thing, but really he didn't at all).

After a while, they fell asleep, pressed closed together under a blanket and Chairman Meow was curled between them, purring contently.

 

 

MOSTLY ISABELLE POV – the next morning, I think? yeah

 

Isabelle knocked on the door to her brother’s apartment. “Alec!” she called. “Alec!”

She heard muffled voices, then footsteps. The door swung open to reveal her brother: he was all sleepy eyes and mussed hair, clearly have just woken up. He squinted at her. “What are you doing here?” he asked, voice low and rumbly with sleep. “It’s Saturday morning!”

“Well, yes,” she said, mock-patiently, slipping past him and into the apartment, “But we were going to go to a movie at the theatre. We hoped you would come. We’re getting ice cream afterwards!”

“We?” Alec asked, one fist going to rub his eyes, closing the door.

“Simon, Clary, Jace, and I, of course!”

“Alexander, dear?” someone called from within the apartment. “I seem to have- oh, dear- lost the cat…”

Alec snorted, calling back, “He’s probably in my sock drawer again!”

There was shuffling footsteps, a loud crash and then, after a moment… “Ha! I got you, you little shit!”

Magnus Bane rounded the corner, grinning, a small, white-ish grey cat cradled to his chest. Said cat’s tail was flicking angrily. “Don’t you worry, Chairman,” Magnus cooed at the cat, stroking its head, “I’ll get you some food in a second.”

The cat looked vaguely appeased.

Magnus was only wearing an old, baggy pair of sweatpants (were those Alec’s?) and a tank top with the words the sun is trying to kill me emblazoned on it. He also looked sleep-mussed, ruffled and soft in a way he never was at school.

He spotted Isabelle and his smile shrunk a bit, hands fidgeting with the cat’s fur as he continued to pet it.

Alec looked between them, blinking. “Oh. Right. Isabelle, this is Magnus, Magnus, this is Isabelle.”

Magnus’s lips parted like he wanted to say something, but nothing came out. He set down the cat gently on the floor, then stepped forward to hold out his hand (wow, that was an excellent shade of maroon nail polish). “Hello,” he said, shooting Alec an uncertain look.

Isabelle didn’t take his hand. “Hello,” she said coolly.

Alec frowned at her.

“So are you coming?” Isabelle asked, ignoring Magnus completely. “Friends’ night out?”

Magnus’s hand awkwardly withdrew, and he fidgeted. “Don’t worry about me, Alec,” he said, “I can take care of myself.” He gave a small, pained smile.

Alec pursed his lips, clearly thinking. After a moment, he lit up. “You could come with us,” he said brightly.

“Alexander,” Magnus said doubtfully, but Isabelle interrupted.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she said. She’d had enough of him today already, what with Clary going on and on about the Great Catsby and her other adventures with the man. She just wanted to spend some time with her family- her friends- without the stress of his presence.

“Why not?” Alec asked.

Magnus frowned, clearly wanting to stay out of this, and made to say he was going to the kitchen. Seeing their intense staring contest, he ended up just vaguely motioning towards the kitchen, then fleeing.

“It’s a friends’ night,” she said once he was gone, “Not couples’ night.”

Alec snorted. “Like you four aren’t all dating each other,” he said.

Isabelle rolled her eyes. “I’m not dating anyone,” she said.

“You’re all always dating each other. You and Simon, You and Clary, Clary and Jace, Clary and Simon, even Jace and Simon kind of have a thing for each other,” he listed off. “That’s not including Meliorn. If we’re going no couples, then it’s just gonna have to be you, me, and Jace.”

Isabelle sighed. “Point taken,” she said. “Alec, does he even want to go? Why would he want to see the new Star Trek movie, anyway? He’s not exactly…” her voice trailed off, searching for the words.

“Star Trek: Beyond?” Alec asked. “Actually, we were talking about that this morning. Apparently, it looks very promising. Simon Pegg is a lot less disappointing than JJ Abrams.”

Isabelle blinked. “You talked Star Trek… with Magnus Bane?”

Alec shrugged. “The first time we met, we ended up watching the Voyage Home,” he offered.

“Magnus Bane,” she repeated, sounding a little amazed, “A nerd. Who’da thought? Wait, you watched a movie together the day you met?

Alec looked a little flustered, about to reply, when Magnus popped his head around the corner. “Did either of you want coffee before you leave?” he asked.

“I’m good, thank you,” Alec said, padding over to press a chaste kiss to his cheek. A tiny, warm smile crossed Magnus’s face, and he leaned into the touch slightly.

Alec pulled away, lips curled up and not taking his eyes off him.

Magnus lingered on him, then turned to Isabelle expectantly. “You?” he offered.

Isabelle’s brow furrowed. “No, thank you, I’m fine,” she said.

“You should probably get dressed,” Magnus said to Alec, nudging his shoulder affectionately. “Wouldn’t do to go out in public like this, hmm?”

They were almost domestic, sweet. The way Magnus was looking at her brother was painfully intimate, like Alec had hung the moon. Their touches lingered on each other, like they didn’t want to let go.

It was unusual, really. Alec had never been one for casual affection, not with any of his past boyfriends, or even his family, so much. He gave the best hugs, certainly, but usually touch from him was for a reason. Not like this, easy and constant, like two magnets.

Between that, and the Star Trek, what she’d seen…

Maybe she’d misjudged Bane. Maybe.

“You get dressed, too,” Isabelle decided abruptly.

They both turned to her, startled.

“What?” she asked, shrugging. “I said I’d try, right? Besides, you’ve got to tell me where you got that nail polish.”

Magnus looked a bit lost for a moment, before registering her last sentence and beaming. “Oh, it’s a marvelous little shop downtown- Marianne, the woman who runs it, is French-”

Isabelle smiled, interrupting, “Later, not now. But thanks.”

His shoulders tensed slightly, and he shot her a sheepish glance, a light blush creeping up his neck.

Alec was grinning.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” she said. “Go get dressed!”

Magnus gave another uncertain smile, pressing a quick kiss to Alec’s cheek and moving to the bedroom to get dressed.

Isabelle watched him go, then turned to Alec. “He really, really likes you, huh?” she said.

His brows furrowed. “Did you think he didn’t?

She shrugged. “I thought maybe he was using you.” She had the decency to look at least a little ashamed.

“And now you don’t?” Alec asked.

Isabelle shrugged. “I don’t know,” she said, “But… I’ll try. For you.”

He smiled.

Magnus walked back in, fully dressed and glimmering. “What do you think, darling?” he asked, flourishing his hands. “I had a change of clothes for today, anyway.”

He looked, simply put, fabulous.

“Wow,” Isabelle said, sounding genuinely impressed. She grinned. “I think you’re the only person Alec has ever dated with a fashion sense!”

Alec blushed. “Shut up.”

Magnus grinned. “Thank you,” he said, “You’re quite tasteful yourself. That dress you were wearing the other day? Excellente, m’dear.”

She acknowledged the compliment with a curl of the lips, turning to look between the two of them. “So how did you two meet, then?” she said, smiling expectantly. “Spill.”

Alec shot Magnus a nervous, questioning look. Magnus’s lips twitched downwards, and he fidgeted with his rings.

Isabelle’s brow furrowed.

Before Alec could come up with an excuse or, god forbid, a lie, Magnus spoke. “At the party, the other day,” he began, but Isabelle lit up.

“So he is mystery guy!” Isabelle exclaimed. “Ha! I knew you hooked up!”

“We- didn’t hook up.” Alec tried, but she just grinned.

“It’s fine if you’re shy, Alec, but you don’t have to be.”

“Someone wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Magnus interrupted sharply. “H-he drugged me-” his voice caught, because sometimes he couldn’t help but think of what could have happened, what had almost happened.

(He had confessed this to Alec one night in a shaky voice, before they’d dated, it had been late and they’d had a few glasses of wine and had cried while watching Bambi, and Alec had hugged him. They’d fallen asleep like that- again- and all Alec could think of was that he wanted to punch someone, because this almost certainly wasn’t the first time someone wouldn’t take no for an answer, wasn’t the first time someone had seen him as a pair of legs or a warm body, and he just wanted to punch everyone who had ever hurt him.)

Isabelle could almost hear the what-if?s in his voice, the lingering fear. She could feel her expression soften, just a little bit.

“-and Alec stepped in. I-I’m not sure what I would’ve done without him.”

He doesn’t say that he probably couldn’t have done anything.

Isabelle heard it anyway.

She felt a little stunned.

Her brother had saved this person from being raped.

Not that she doubted her brother’s hero complex, but it still shocked her.

Even if she’d always thought Bane was a no-good cheater…

Well, she’d never cared about him sleeping around. Isabelle did that, and there was really no harm in it, as long it was two consenting adults. But ever since her pare- no, Maryse and Robert, she hated cheaters, she hated them, because they ripped people apart. Ripped families apart. And she never wanted to see her brother hurt like that.

But none of that mattered anyway, because even if it was true, no one deserved that. No one.

And Alec had saved him.

Magnus’s hands were still shaking a bit, and she snapped out of her thoughts.

Apparently seeing her lightly awed expression, her brother quickly said, “I didn’t do that much.”

Isabelle knew him well enough to know he was being modest.

“You punched the guy in the face,” Magnus said, seeming to collect himself (she noted he was still playing with his rings) and raise an eyebrow, “and let me sleep it off on your couch. Then you marathoned Star Trek with me because I was pathetic enough not to want to go home.”

He frowned. “It wasn’t pathetic,” he said, “It was perfectly understandable.”

Magnus sighed. “If you say so, dear.”

Alec kissed him on the cheek, expression stubborn and almost pouty in a way Isabelle had never seen. “I do say so,” he insisted. “And besides, Jonathan was still out there. No one could blame you for not wanting to be home alone.”

“Jonathan?” Isabelle asked. “Like, Jonathan Morgenstern? That creep who tried to catfish me?”

“What did he go by again, Sebastian something?” Alec asked.

“Verlac,” Isabelle said. “He’s a real person, actually. I met him, he’s rather nice.”

“You know him?” Magnus asked, looking faintly surprised and a little sick.

“Ye- I told you this, didn’t I? I didn’t just, not tell you, did I? Oh my god-”

Alec was sounding more horrified by the second and Magnus interrupted him by putting a finger to his lips, gently shushing him, the multiple rings glimmering and the thin chains of the slave bracelet clinking gently as he withdrew his hand to speak.

Alec’s lips curled up automatically, affectionately tracing his eyes over Magnus’s smile.

They were sickeningly cute, Isabelle thought.

“I do vaguely remember us talking about it, but I was still a little out of it. Honestly, I’d forgotten it. For obvious reasons, I’d much rather try to forget about that particularly part of the night in general.” He waved his hand, “I’ve never let my past control me before, and I won’t now.”

Isabelle thought that sounded a little unhealthy, but really, who she was to talk?

So she said nothing but, “Alec, go get dressed, you big numpty. Magnus and I will wait in the car.”

Alec looked like he wanted to protest but didn’t know how. Magnus shot him a smile. “I’ll be fine, darling,” he said. “Be quick! Don’t want to miss this, do we?”

“No, I suppose not,” Alec said, then stepped forward to pull Magnus into a quick kiss, pulling away with a smile. Magnus’s slightly dazed smile matched his, then Alec left, presumably to go get changed.

Isabelle hadn’t missed how Magnus had melted into the kiss, taken off guard but apparently very much okay with the unexpected physical affection.

Now that Alec was gone, it was the perfect time to give Magnus the obligatory shovel talk.

She turned to him, letting her voice get serious and dark. “You do know if you hurt my brother, I’ll kill you, right?”

Magnus met her steely gaze calmly. “If I hurt your brother,” he said, “I’ll hand you the knife myself.”

Isabelle blinked, taken aback. “That’s a new one,” she said. “But I’ll hold you to that.”

Magnus gave her a slightly forced smile. “Now that the threats are over with,” he said with false cheer, “We should be heading to your car. Your friends are waiting, no?”

“Actually,” she said, opening the door, “It’s a van. Simon’s van.”

“Oh!” he said, “Good ol’ Rory.”

Isabelle’s brows furrowed. “What?”

Magnus grinned. “It always dies on us,” he said, as if that explained everything. “I actually helped save up for that van- I apparently own the left part of the back seat.”

She blinked. She’d forgotten that he was Simon’s friend, too.

Misinterpreting her bewilderment, he explained, “A week after we finally got the van, Simon got a bit drunk and decided to divvy up the various seats based on how much each of us had paid, even though we all got it for him. I got the left back seat. Because I spilled glitter on it. It’s mostly gone now. Mostly.”

She laughed. “Usually Alec sits there.”

“I don’t mind,” Magnus winked. “But really, anyone can sit anywhere. It doesn’t matter much. Then again, if Ragnor and Raphael aren’t seated together, hell might just break loose, and under no circumstances is Maureen to be seated next to Simon, they’ll probably crash the van somehow, and I swear to god, if Raphael ever drives again none of us would surviv- am I rambling again?”

He’d cut himself off, flushing slightly.

Isabelle was about to reply, amused, when someone shouted, “There you are!”

It was Jace. “We’ve been waiting for ages- wait, what is he doing here?”

Magnus flinched slightly, looking away. Isabelle irrationally wanted to comfort him.

“Alec’s still getting dressed,” Isabelle said instead, “and Magnus is coming with us.”

“Joy,” Jace deadpanned, but he didn’t seem too irritated. He sounded more dismissive than anything.

“Why were you at Alec’s place this early anyway? Did you too finally hook up?”

Magnus stiffened. “No,” he said, “We fell asleep watching a movie.”

Jace snorted. “Sure.”

Before Magnus could retort or Isabelle could interject, Alec jogged up behind them.

Jace whistled, attention effectively drawn. “You dressed up,” he said.

“Jace,” Alec said in a long-suffering tone, “I’m wearing a t-shirt. And jeans.”

“A dark blue t-shirt,” Jace said pointedly. “No sweaters or anything. And no black!”

Alec rolled his eyes, walking over to wind an arm around Magnus and kiss him on the cheek (again! Wow, they were really into the whole causally always touching thing, huh?) to which Magnus responded by leaning into him, sighing.

“We’ve got to go, anyway,” Jace said, “Keep the clothed sex under control, hmm?”

Alec blushed dark red, Magnus frowned.

Isabelle rolled her eyes, hitting Jace on the shoulder. “Shut up,” she said. “Like you said, we’ve got a movie to see.”

 

                                                                                                                                             

 

 

 

Chapter Text

ALEC POV

 

Magnus clicked with his friends excellently.

Simon was overjoyed to see him (“Oh my god! All we need is the rest of the band and Ragnor and this would be all of my friends!”) and Clary seemed happy enough with his presence (evidently whatever hostility she’d held for him had been forgotten that night at the café).

Isabelle was definitely trying- and as much as she resisted, Alec could tell she liked him. Really, he wasn’t surprised, they actually shared a lot of the same interests. They had a lot in common.

Even Jace seemed to enjoy their snarking back and forth.

After the movie (“Oh my god, did you see that?!” “Yes, Magnus, I was in the theater, too,” “But Alec. It was so beautiful.” “I knew it was a bad idea to get Star Trek-themed alcohol.” “But the Cardassian Sunrise is so good.” “You’re drunk, Magnus.” “Ah, but only slightly drunk!”) Simon herded Clary and Isabelle (who were drunkenly yet effectively herding Jace with water pistols that Clary had apparently had in her purse) home and Alec got Magnus home.

He knocked on the door to his apartment, just in case Ragnor was home. Really, Ragnor spent more time at Raphael’s home than his own nowadays, and it was likely only a matter of time before they moved in together.

There was no answer, so he pulled out the spare key from its surprisingly clever hiding spot in the old light that had never worked, and unlocked the door.

Magnus walked in after him, stumbling slightly. He wasn’t actually too drunk, but he definitely wasn’t safe to drive. He collapsed on the couch, blinking up at Alec with a smile.

Alec sat next to him with a sigh, unable to find in it him to be irritated.

Magnus immediately cuddled up to him, burying his face in Alec’s chest and letting out a content hum. He was like a big cat sometimes.

“I guess you’d like me to stay, then?” Alec asked, amused.

“Always,” Magnus mumbled into his shirt.

Alec blushed. “Maybe you should get to bed. Sleep it off.”

Magnus stirred, pulling himself out of Alec’s lap reluctantly. “No,” he half-whined, “I’m not tired. Maybe we could… do something else?”

“Like what?” Alec asked. “Stop squirming, you’re gonna fall off the couch.”

Magnus obliged, flopping onto the couch next to him so that he was sprawled across it and his head was resting on Alec’s leg. “We could build a pillow fort,” he suggested.

Alec snorted, but couldn’t help but grin a little. “A pillow fort?” he repeated.

“A pillow fort!”

Alec laughed softly, one hand stroking through Magnus’s hair. “Are you coordinated enough to do that right now?” he asked.

Magnus gave him a vaguely offended look. “Of course I am!” he exclaimed. “I told you, I’m only a little- hic- drunk!”

“You just hiccupped.”

“So?”

Alec sighed fondly. “Fine. We’ll build a pillow fort.”

Magnus cheered.

 

Their pillow fort is actually surprisingly stable.

Magnus has an array of pillows and extra blankets that are suspiciously good for fort building.

The pillow fort was fairly large, encasing the couch and even the TV, propped up by several chairs and a table, and the inside was both very roomy (for a pillow fort, that is) yet also cozy, definitely leaving the two in close quarters.

They were sitting close together, music drifting through the air. “You’re the best boyfriend ever,” Magnus breathed, eyes bright.

Alec knew he was blushing. “B-boyfriend?”

Magnus faltered, uncertainty flickering across his face. “Did you not… want-?”

“Of course I want-” Alec searched for the words, eyes never leaving Magnus’s face, “Of course I want you. This.”

Magnus beamed. Then he leaned forward and kissed him deeply.

Alec easily responded, eyes closing.

Magnus finally pulled away, lips still brushing against his, eyes bright and absolutely joyful.

Alec kissed him again, but they accidently overbalanced and fell backwards, so Alec was partially on top of Magnus. A few pillows were knocked over, blowing out a wall in their fort and nearly collapsing part of the ceiling.

“We’re boyfriends,” Alec grinned between kisses, and it’s so ridiculous and cute that soon they’re both giggling. Magnus was pinned to the floor of their pillow fort by his boyfriend, laughing as Alec nuzzled the crook of his shoulder, hands carefully roaming up his back, lips pressing shy kisses down his neck and occasionally letting his hands purposely brush over a ticklish spot (he didn’t know if anyone else knew that Magnus was ticklish, but he did and it was adorable) and Magnus laughing softly beneath him.

Eventually, Alec’s lips trailed back up to Magnus’s, and they kissed again, warm and deep and long.

It was a beautiful moment, and neither of them once attempted to remove clothing.

They just lay in that pillow fort (soon ruins, after Magnus accidently kicked out another wall and the whole thing tumbled down around them), kissing, loosely entwined together in the pile of pillows and blankets, smiling into each other’s lips, the music (piano of some sort, apparently tipsy Magnus was in the mood for classical) still playing.

 

(When Ragnor came home later the next morning, he wasn’t sure why he was surprised to see them asleep in the living room amongst an enormous pile of pillows. Magnus did have a penchant for building pillow forts the second he ingested even a little too much alcohol.)

 

RAGNOR POV – oooh, that’s new-ish, eh?

 

It was only natural that after more than a month of happiness something horrible happened.

Between Alec coming into their lives (honestly, the boy was perfect for Magnus) and Ragnor getting his dream boyfriend and the success of Simon’s band, really, Ragnor should have expected it.

He’d left the two idiots to canoodle in their dilapidated pillow fort and had decided to go get a muffin when- well, when he saw her.

She was waiting for him. The bitch.

She was waiting in his favorite fucking café, sitting there casually in her stupid red dress and sharp red heels, her thin, dark red lips curled into a smirk and her long, milkishly pale legs crossed daintily. That goddamn ruby necklace, and he knew she’d only worn it to remind him.

She looked deceptively frail, almost flower-like, but Ragnor knew perfectly well that she was more than capable of leaving bruises.

If she was a flower, she was a Venus Flytrap.

(Or a blood-red rose. Dramatic, perhaps, but a worthy comparison: beautiful, but sharp, a beauty that shouldn’t be touched.)

Ragnor walked right past her, looking pointedly ahead. He refused to acknowledge her stupid mind games. If she wanted to talk to him, she could fucking get up and talk to him, but goddamn it, he was not leaving without his muffin.

He got his muffin, gingerly pulling it from its little paper bag and taking an angry bite as he turned to leave.

When he got out the doors, he was pulled off to the side sharply, into the shadows of the corner. There was no easy way to avoid her now.

“Ragnor,” she said, smiling sickly-sweet.

“Camille,” he spat, nearly crushing his muffin in a clenched fist (before he caught himself, then took another angry bite).

It was hard to angrily bite a muffin, by the way, but Ragnor managed it, even if he did get crumbs everywhere.

Camille’s lips curled mockingly. “I was just wondering how your dear friend was doing,” she said, thick, syrupy honey dripping from her every word. “I heard Magnus got a new boytoy. What’s this one like?”

Ragnor narrowed his eyes. “Leave him alone, Camille,” he hissed.

“I’m already hearing all sorts of things,” Camille said. “You should see the betting pool!”

“There are all sorts of things! Matt bet Lightwood would realize what a whore he is and dump him by the end of the year. Erik bet Magnus would cheat on him a week in, and Lightwood would find out in two. Personally,” she laughed lightly, thinly disguising the cruel amusement glittering in her eyes, “I think he’ll dump Lightwood soon enough. Virgins aren’t his type, even if they are so easily manipulated.”

Ragnor barely refrained from growling low in his throat, settling for clenching his jaw angrily.

He wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of more information. Or any more of a reaction than she’d already forced out of him.

“Then again,” she said mock-thoughtfully, “He looks strong. And we all know Magnus likes a girl- sorry, a boy- who can really leave a mark, right?”

Ragnor started forward but only just barely managed to stop himself from punching her.

With anyone else- anyone-he wouldn’t have even hesitated. They’d be missing teeth by now.

But Camille was ready for that. She wanted it.

She could build a hundred stories around it, all with the same theme: Magnus Bane had his ‘innocent’ ex-girlfriend hurt, she was bruised and in pain, and Magnus’s friend did it, all with that theme that Magnus was to blame.

Ragnor refused to put him through anything more.

“Well,” she said, evidently very pleased with his reaction, “Nice to see Magnus’s dog can control himself. Anyway, tell Magnus I said hi, and also,” she winked, “tell him I’ll be waiting. What was it, amor verus numquam moritur?”

He wanted to kill her.

But he wouldn’t give her the satisfaction.

He spat at her feet. “Fuck off, Camille,” he said. “I mean it. Stay away from my friends.”

“Sure, Fell. Like that scares me.” Camille laughed, tossing her hair over her shoulder. “Oh, well, I need to get moving. I’ll see you later.”

Ragnor wasn’t able to hold back the growl this time.

Her red lips twisted again. Her fingers very consciously went to her necklace, more for his sake than hers. “Problem, Ragnor?” she asked.

He didn’t say anything, desperately trying to think of some way he could fucking rip out her fucking throat and get away with it.

Camille laughed. “Thought so.”

She turned away gracefully, then paused. “You know, didn’t you get a boytoy, too? Sandiego or something?” she asked, as if she didn’t know. “Hmm. Maybe I’ll pay him a visit later, too,” she said, her close-lipped red smile cutting and cruel. Then she swept past him, red dress swirling, and he was left standing in the shadows, fists clenched and silently fuming.

After a moment, he exhaled heavily, fury still rushing through his veins, and spun on one foot to march home. He had to warn Magnus.

 

MAGNUS POV

 

Magnus felt extremely comfortable only wearing an old pair of sweatpants (they honestly might’ve been Alec’s) and a Kiss the Cook apron. Really, he was having a great morning.

Alec, conversely, was only wearing boxers and one of Magnus’s shirts (BLINK IF YOU WANT ME, it said in bedazzled letters) and he looked absolutely ravishing.

The two had finally crawled out of the large pillow pile to make breakfast. Magnus, apparently, could only cook two breakfast items: waffles and pancakes. They, unfortunately, didn’t have the materials for either of those things.

Alec was in charge of the bacon.

(He’d already finished it. They’d been picking at it as Magnus burned the eggs. He’d actually set one dish on fire.)

Magnus’s brows drew together in concentration as he focused on not burning the eggs this time. He gave another flick of his wrist.

Alec laughed. “Magnus, you can’t cook eggs like that!”

“I don’t see why not,” Magnus said, giving the pan another shake as if he were flipping a pancake.

“Have you ever even cooked eggs?” Alec asked, grinning.

“Of course not,” Magnus said, mock-affronted. “Do I look the sort to cook eggs, normally?”

“I suppose not,” Alec grinned. “But then why are you cooking eggs now?”

“For you, of course,” Magnus replied easily, tipping an imaginary hat. “M’lord. You know, I don’t know how you talked me into this, I’m terrible at breakfast food-”

He was distracted by strong, warm arms wrapping around him from behind.

It was horribly, terribly, completely cliché, and Magnus was about five thousand percent up for it.

Really, even though they’d only been actually dating for just over a week, they were already acting ridiculously domestic. They just clicked. And if the ‘domestic package’ came with failing at making breakfast together and distracting each other until the eggs burned (again) then Magnus certainly wasn’t complaining.

Before Alec could kiss him or whisper something in his ear or whatever the little shit was planning, the door burst open. Magnus yelped and dropped the pan. Alec leapt back, cursing as some hot egg hit his bare foot.

Ragnor marched in, eyes wild and angry. “It’s her,” he said, with no other explanation, and Magnus stiffened.

“Well, it’s not like we didn’t expect it,” he said heavily. “Do you want some eggs?”

“They’re burnt,” Alec warned absently as Ragnor reached for a fork, “But- who’s her? What are you talking about?”

Magnus and Ragnor exchanged a look. Ragnor looked a bit incredulous (Magnus could almost hear his indignant rant: You fool, if you don’t tell him now, you know it will come out at the worst possible time! Or better yet, from Camille’s lips!) and Magnus hunched his shoulders.

“Is it Camille?” Alec asked, looking back and forth between them.

“Where did you hear her name?” Magnus asked at the same time as Ragnor exclaimed, “Yes!”

Alec ducked his head, stepping away slightly so he could use a cloth to wipe away some of the excess egg on his shirt. It seemed like the morning they’d spent laughing and making breakfast had been years ago already, when really it had been minutes.

Ragnor nibbled at a piece of slightly cold bacon.

“I’ve just heard a few people talking,” Alec shrugged. “I don’t know any details, but I know it was a bad break-up, right? Are you gonna be okay with your ex back in town?”

Alec was taking this alarmingly well.

He must really not know any of the details, Magnus thought, amazed.

“It was more than a bad break-up,” Ragnor pounced before Magnus could blame the worst of it on himself. “She was a horrible person and Magnus finally broke up with her so in retaliation she spread a whole bunch of lies about him!”

“To be fair,” Magnus said weakly, “I did kiss Will.”

“You were drunk!” Ragnor cried. “And trying to convince yourself that you didn’t care that she cheated on you! You never cheated on her, you never said any of those awful things, and quite frankly, if anybody was being treated badly, it was you. You deserve better than her, my friend. You always have!”

Magnus didn’t look either of them in the eye. “I know,” he said, but even he could hear the doubt in his voice. His voice grew more certain and steady when he said, “I don’t want her, Ragnor. I have- I have you.” At that last part, he turned back to Alec, and his hands were trembling, just slightly.

Alec frowned. “Do you- do you wanna talk about it?” he asked hesitantly, stepping closer. “You don’t have to. But… I’d like to help.”

Magnus laughed weakly, easily gravitating to Alec. “I’m not sure you can, my dear.”

Ragnor thumped him on the shoulder. “You know you can always talk to either of us,” he said. “Or Simon, or Raphael, or Maureen. We’re here for you, my friend.”

Magnus gave him a tremulous smile. “Shouldn’t you go tell Raphael? Last time, she did…”

“You know, she called him Sandiego, as if she didn’t know his name?” Ragnor scoffed. “What a bitch. But I suppose you’re right. Are you- are you sure? Will you two be alright?”

Magnus laughed. “We can manage ourselves,” he said, but his cheer sounded forced. “But thank you. Truly.”

“I can make more bacon,” Alec exhaled, “and then we can have a shitty Disney TV movie marathon.”

“Try Girl vs Monster,” Ragnor advised. “One of the characters looks a lot like your ginger biscuit.”

Alec looked confused for half a second before realizing he meant Clary.

“Or Twitches,” Magnus added, lips curling upwards despite himself.

“Lemonade Mouth,” Ragnor challenged.

“Descendants.”

“Camp Rock.”

“High School Musical.”

“Let it Shine.”

“Oh, that’s a stretch. How about Wizards of Waverly Place?”

“The movie?”

“No, the TV sh- yes, the movie, Ragnor!”

“I’m partial to Halloweentown, myself,” Alec interjected. “So wonderfully bad.”

Ragnor looked rather impressed. “Not bad.”

Magnus snapped his fingers. “Ah- but consider: Hocus Pocus.”

 

Eventually, Ragnor did end up leaving to talk to Raphael, although it took longer than anticipated (“The sequel is never better, Ragnor”) and they were left alone on the couch in front of the TV. Most of the pillows had been tucked around them in an almost makeshift nest, a bowl of popcorn balanced between them, one of Alec’s arms thrown around the back of the sofa.

At some point, when it was getting late and the popcorn was gone anyway, they stumbled off to the bed, collapsing and barely pulling the covers over themselves.

Magnus felt like his limbs were made of lead. If not for Alec, he would feel cold, the hairs standing up on his neck, but with Alec’s arms around him, he felt warm. They were facing each other, and the way Magnus’s arms were wrapped around his waist, face buried in his chest, only made him feel warmer.

They sat in peaceful silence, tired but awake.

Of course, at some point the topic would have to be breached.

“It was more than just a bad break-up, wasn’t it?” Alec said quietly.

Magnus didn’t say anything, just nuzzled further into his shirt.

“You don’t have to tell me,” Alec said. “I just… I hope you’re gonna be okay.”

Magnus exhaled, arms tightening around Alec’s waist. “I will tell you,” he mumbled into Alec’s shirt, “But not right now. Please. Right now, I just need to…” he faltered.

He felt Alec nod, his own grip tightening on Magnus, and eventually, the lull of Alec’s strong, steady heartbeat lulled him to sleep.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

MAGNUS POV

 

Everything was muted and hazy.

A tall, dark figure towered over him.

She was just as beautiful as he remembered. Red lips and long hair, her dark eyes glittering with cruel humor. Camille.

She was angry. Her jaw was clenched, her eyes burning.

He was on the floor, hand still lightly brushing at the thin scratches, now seeping a tiny amount of blood, on his face. He couldn’t get his voice to work.

(Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he remembered this- they’d been arguing- god, he couldn’t remember why- and she’d… well, it was the first time, and the first is always the hardest.)

She slapped him again, hard, her long, sharp nails leaving another set of thin red trails on his cheek.

He couldn’t speak.

She gave a satisfied look, lips curling upwards as if to bare fangs.

Suddenly the world tipped sideways and got blurrier, the scene shifted and time had passed: they were on a bed, and Camille was right there, too close, looming above him. He felt drunk, like he couldn’t tell what direction was up.

Camille was everywhere, all over his skin, around his neck and up his spine, her presence smothering, her perfume lingering heavily in the air- metallic and tangy, like a blood-soaked rose.

Her hot breath was on his skin, her long hair tickling his bare chest. Her thin, cold fingers were wrapped tightly around his wrists, surprisingly strong, roughly shoving them down, and she bit at his skin, harsh and hard, licking at the blood that welled up.

It hurt.

“Camille, s-stop,” he managed, but he couldn’t quite get his tongue to work right. They’d been at a party; he’d had a little too much to drink. He wasn’t ready, he didn’t- he didn’t-

“Oh, babe,” she said as she dragged down the zipper on his jeans, “Trust me. You’ll enjoy this-”

(He mostly forgets it the next morning. Camille had a hangover almost as bad as his, so he chalks it up to their mutual drunkenness and lets it stay forgotten.)

But now, she’s undressing him and he’s finding it hard to breathe again, like he’s been forced underwater, and he gasps out for breath-

Suddenly, her dark, smiling eyes turn bright, cold blue, her long brown hair seems to be gold-

Jonathan, pinning him down, he struggles and tries to get away but nothing’s working-

He flickers back to Camille. It’s like they’re two people at once, like two different memories-

(One of them isn’t a memory, but which one-?)

He hears someone. Camille deftly removes his jeans, he squirms away.

“Magnus!”

Alec.

Alec?

He struggles against her cold hands again. Alec, alec, alec, his mind screams, because why was she here if he had Alec? Why wasn’t she gone-?

Jonathan’s hand clamped around his lips, muffling his shouts-

His voice is a static-filled blur, distorted and clipped out in places like a radio that didn’t quite work.

Camille’s grip tightens and she bites down, hard. He cried out, clawing at the sheets, trying to get away-

“Mag---s, --ke up, h-- --s ok—y, y—r-e safe, Magnus- hey, it’s okay-”

His voice gets clearer and clearer, suddenly Camille’s weight no longer traps him against the soft mattress, the ruthless blue eyes are gone, the cold of the nightmare and her skin seeps away, and-

Snap.

Magnus woke up.

He was in his own bed. Alec was right next to him, a cautious distance away, eyes wide and worried.

Magnus knew he was shaking.

“I didn’t want to touch you, just in case,” Alec said worriedly, “You were thrashing, I didn’t want to hurt you, and-”

Magnus threw his arms around Alec, burying his face in Alec’s shoulder. “It’s fine,” he choked into Alec’s shirt. With a start, he realized he was crying. Thin tear tracks trailed down his cheeks (he remembered where there had been red trails instead).

Alec was surprised for a moment, before he wrapped his arms tightly around his boyfriend and exhaled. “Are you going to be okay?”

“Yes.” Magnus said quietly, lifting his head enough to look into Alec’s eyes.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Alec asked. (He clearly expected Magnus to say no again. Magnus couldn’t blame him.)

“Yes,” Magnus said again, just as quietly, arms tightening around Alec’s waist. “But not now. Please.”

Alec nodded, and he gently leant down to kiss him- but he paused, just before their lips touched. Asking for permission.

Magnus met him halfway, and for a long moment, they just kissed- Magnus’s cheeks were still damp, but one of Alec’s hands went to cup his face anyway, deepening the kiss.

When Magnus finally pulled away, he’d stopped shaking.

“It’s not you,” he said, “I do trust you. I just… I can’t right now. But I swear… I will tell you someday. Someday soon. Please… please don’t be mad.”

“It’s a bit frustrating,” Alec admitted slowly, “But I’m not mad.”

Magnus sniffed. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m a mess.”

Alec rolled his eyes fondly, pressing a quick kiss to his forehead. They untangled so that they were just sitting next to each other on the bed. Magnus was still leaning against Alec. “That’s okay,” Alec said. “I’m not too great myself. Did I ever tell you I used to have a crush on Jace?”

Glad for the subject change, Magnus wrinkled his nose. “Jace? Really? I’d’ve thought you’d choose someone more attractive.” Then, after a moment, he said, “Wait, isn’t he your-?”

“Adopted brother,” Alec sighed, “Yes. But when we met, he was just a foster kid in our house, you know? It wasn’t like having a brother, it was like having a best friend. I was very closeted, and he was the only boy my age around. And he was handsome.”

Magnus nodded wisely. “Yes, that would do it,” he said. “I remember when I had a crush on Jem- oh! I shudder to think.”

“Jem?” Alec asked curiously.

“An old friend,” Magnus said, “He and his two best friends used to live nearby. They moved awhile back. We’ve lost touch for the most part, I’m afraid.”

Alec smiled. “Tell me about them?” he requested.

Magnus shot him an uncertain look. “Well, it’s a long, complicated story,” he said.

“Were they good friends of yours?” Alec asked.

“Yes,” Magnus said. “Very good, really.”

“Then I’d love to hear about them,” Alec smiled. “I’d like to learn more about you. Your past.”

Magnus fidgeted, fingers picking at the skin where his rings would normally be. “It’s not all pretty,” he warned.

“You don’t have to,” Alec reassured quickly, suddenly realizing that he might be making Magnus uncomfortable.

“No!” Magnus exclaimed. “No, it’s fine. I trust you.”

His own words startled him a bit. He did trust Alec. He trusted Alec almost as much as he trusted Ragnor. That was… that was new.

He didn’t regret it though.

Looking at Alec now, his hazel eyes warm and caring, he thought that maybe this time, he wouldn’t get his heart broken.

Alec gave a nervous grin.

“Well,” Magnus began, collecting himself, “I met them at a concert, actually, for a band called Clockwork Angel- they were really quite lovely, but it didn’t take much time in their company to realize that the three of them were all in love with each other.”

Alec blinked. “All three of them?”

Magnus hummed. “Oh, yes. As I said, I do believe they’re all happy together now.”

“And you lost contact?”

“We just drifted apart, I suppose,” Magnus sighed, looking down. “I was never their closest friend… but they were quite dear to me.”

Magnus had a habit of caring about people more than they cared about him. One that he wished he could break, but never really would.

He loved them too much, after all.

Alec kissed his cheek softly. “Well, they were silly to let you go,” he said.

Magnus huffed slightly. “On a lighter subject,” he said, desperately wanting to move on to something more cheerful so as to avoid crying, “the story of how we met is quite entertaining. You see, I hadn’t actually planned on going to that particular concert, and it so happens my hair was dyed a particular shade of bubblegum pink…”

As he told the story, he gradually let himself forget the sadness of how that friendship had ended, the fear of the previous nightmare. He let himself enjoy Alec’s company, telling the story with animated gestures (and the occasional rambling tangent).

Overall, they ended up exchanging several stories, Alec divulging what had happened the one time he gotten hammered (it was actually, surprisingly, Simon’s fault, although Simon still insists that Alec totally rocked that cocktail dress and heels) and Magnus telling him about the small period of time in which he was a stage magician (“I was actually quite excellent, and not to mention I still have a few tricks up my sleeve-” At this point, he pulled Chairman Meow out of a top hat. Alec wasn’t sure where he’d gotten the top hat, but he knew the cat was none too pleased to be woke from his nap. And yes, Alec did make a pun on the word magnificent. He just couldn’t resist.)

Several stories and bad puns later, and Magnus finally fell back asleep- even though it was morning by then. Oh, well.

He’d deal with it later. Right now he was too tired and warm and comfortable to give a shit.

He vaguely felt Alec lying them both back on the bed and curling closer to him, brushing a lock of hair out of his face, before he finally succumbed completely to sleep.

 

ALEC POV – the same scene

 

Alec was sleeping pretty well until he got elbowed in the stomach.

He jerked awake with a displeased noise, peering to look at where Magnus was curled up in a small nest of sheets.

Alec blinked heavily, eyes still slightly crusty with sleep. “Magnus?” he mumbled sleepily.

Magnus’s head jerked to the side slightly. He was- he was crying.

Alec cautiously reached out a hand, carefully brushing against Magnus’s wrist, which was flung out from his body to the side, towards Alec.

Magnus let out a little cry, flinching from the touch, yanking his arm away.

Alec withdrew his hand like he’d been burned. He refused to make the nightmare worse by making it seem tangible.

Unfortunately, it seemed the small touch had spiraled Magnus deeper into the nightmare.

He was shaking, thrashing in the sheets, flinching away from invisible hands, and then-

 “Camille, s-stop,” he pleaded softly, eyes still tightly clenched shut, but he was going still- like he was giving up.

 “Magnus,” Alec said urgently.

Magnus twitched, but he still lay there, trembling and curling in further on himself. He thrashed again, like he was trying to get out a net.

“Magnus!” Alec said a little louder, resisting the urge to take his boyfriend into his arms and never let go.

Magnus seemed to almost calm, just for a second, but then he suddenly cried out as if he’d been burned.

“Magnus, wake up,” Alec tried, keeping his voice low and calm, “It’s okay, you’re safe-”

Magnus gave a tiny sob, grabbing a fistful of sheets.

“Magnus,” Alec said again, voice growing softer, “Hey, it’s okay-”

God, what had Magnus this scared? What had Camille done?

Magnus’s eyes flew open and he shot up, breathing hard, like he’d just run a marathon.

He was still shaking, eyes wide and wild, flying around the room before settling on Alec.

“I didn’t want to touch you, just in case,” Alec said, trying to gather the words, “You were thrashing, I didn’t want to hurt you, and-”

Magnus blinked away some tears and launched forward, wrapping his arms around Alec’s middle and burying his face in his boyfriend’s shoulder. “It’s fine,” he choked into Alec’s shirt.

Alec was surprised for a moment before hugging Magnus back, murmuring into his ear “Are you going to be okay?”

“Yes.” Magnus said quietly, his beautiful brown eyes meeting Alec’s.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Alec asked.

He knew Magnus wouldn’t want to. Camille was an unspoken taboo, some dark creature in Magnus’s past. Alec was sure she’d done something to him, something terrible, but he knew he had no place to go around making assumptions, so he let it be.

Magnus could tell him when he was ready.

“Yes,” Magnus said again, surprising him. His grip tightened, like he was making sure Alec was still there. “But not now. Please.”

Alec nodded, and as much as he wished Magnus would just talk to him about this, he knew that his boyfriend wasn’t ready. He gently leant down to kiss Magnus- but he paused, just before their lips touched. Asking for permission.

(He had a sinking feeling that Camille never had.)

(“Camille, s-stop-”)

Magnus leant forward the rest of the way, and for a long moment, they just kissed. Alec cupped a hand around his cheek- still slightly damp- and deepened the kiss.

When Magnus finally pulled away, he was watching Alec closely, eyes now mostly dry.

“It’s not you,” he said, and he sounded small, “I do trust you. I just… I can’t right now. But I swear… I will tell you someday. Someday soon. Please… please don’t be mad.”

“It’s a bit frustrating,” Alec admitted slowly, “But I’m not mad.”

Magnus sniffed. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m a mess.”

Alec rolled his eyes fondly, pressing a quick kiss to his forehead. They untangled so that they were just sitting next to each other on the bed. Magnus was still leaning against Alec. “That’s okay,” Alec said. He figured Magnus didn’t want to talk about this anymore. “I’m not too great myself. Did I ever tell you I used to have a crush on Jace?”

Magnus wrinkled his nose, but there was no judgement in his tone when he said, “Jace? Really? I’d’ve thought you’d choose someone more attractive.” Then, after a moment, his brow furrowed. “Wait, isn’t he your-?”

“Adopted brother,” Alec sighed regretfully, “Yes. But when we met, he was just a foster kid in our house, you know? It wasn’t like having a brother, it was like having a best friend. I was very closeted, and he was the only boy my age around. And he was handsome.”

Looking back, it was a bit repulsive. Kissing Jace would be as bad as kissing Izzy, even if he wasn’t a girl.

Magnus nodded. “Yes, that would do it,” he said. “I remember when I had a crush on Jem- oh! I shudder to think.”

“Jem?” Alec asked, hoping he didn’t sound jealous.

“An old friend,” Magnus said, “He and his two best friends used to live nearby. They moved awhile back. We’ve lost touch for the most part, I’m afraid.”

“Tell me about them?” Alec asked curiously.

Magnus shot him an uncertain look. “Well, it’s a long, complicated story,” he said.

“Were they good friends of yours?” Alec asked.

“Yes,” Magnus said. “Very good, really.”

“Then I’d love to hear about them,” Alec said softly. “I’d like to learn more about you. Your past.”

Magnus fidgeted, fingers picking at the skin where his rings would normally be. “It’s not all pretty,” he warned.

“You don’t have to,” Alec reassured quickly, suddenly realizing that he might be making Magnus uncomfortable.

“No!” Magnus exclaimed. “No, it’s fine. I trust you.”

Alec felt an unexpected warmth in his chest at those words.

It’s not that he’d necessarily doubted that Magnus trusted him, but- well, it was nice to hear.

For someone so loud and proud and bright, Magnus was very private- Alec knew Magnus, he did, but he knew very little about his family (if he had any) or his past.

Alec gave a nervous grin.

“Well,” Magnus began in his story-teller voice, “I met them at a concert, actually, for a band called Clockwork Angel- they were really quite lovely, but it didn’t take much time in their company to realize that the three of them were all in love with each other.”

“All three of them?” Alec asked. Why was am I surprised, honestly? he thought. Of course Magnus knows a triad.

Magnus hummed quietly. “Oh, yes. As I said, I do believe they’re all happy together now.”

“And you lost contact?”

“We just drifted apart, I suppose,” Magnus sighed, looking down. “I was never their closest friend… but they were quite dear to me.”

Oh. Well, that was… sad.

Alec wasn’t very good with words, so he settled for leaning over and kissing his cheek softly. “Well, they were silly to let you go,” he said.

Magnus huffed slightly, evidently trying to brush off the sadness. “On a lighter subject, the story of how we met is quite entertaining. You see, I hadn’t actually planned on going to that particular concert, and it so happens my hair was dyed a particular shade of bubblegum pink…”

As Magnus told the story, his shoulders loosened up and his eyes brightened, getting lost in the telling. He was an excellent storyteller, pausing in all the right places and painting pictures with his words (and wild hand waving). Sometimes he got off-topic, but, well, the tangents were really just as interesting. Alec didn’t mind at all.

They ended up exchanging several stories, Magnus reveling in the story of how he once met a pickpocket and their subsequent summer adventures, and Alec telling him about the time he snuck out (and Jace got blamed for it, hilariously, because who would think Alec, of all people, would sneak out?), (Magnus mentioning the “glorious night I got to be a drag queen- oh, it was wonderful, I still go there sometimes to say hi to the ladies-”) and so on.

Several stories and bad puns later, and Magnus finally fell back asleep- even though it was morning by then.

Golden light streamed in through the windows, making Magnus’s usually (for the most part) sharp, defined edges seem soft. With Magnus safe and secure in Alec’s arms, Alec felt like he was in heaven.

That’s not to say he wouldn’t be needing sleep.

But for now, he just gently laid them both back all the way, arms still woven around his boyfriend, and watched the gentle rise and fall of his chest, the way his lips were curled into a soft smile, his eyes twitching behind the lids ever so slightly.

He brushed an errant lock of hair out of Magnus’s eyes.

It was a beautiful morning.

 

SIMON POV - the next day

 

Simon wasn’t really sure what to think.

On one hand, the night had gone excellently.

Magnus had, as Simon had always known he would, fit in with their little group just fine.

On the other- what the hell had happened with Clary?

One day, she’s absolutely convinced Magnus is going to hurt Alec, backing up Camille, the next they’ve named a cat together and she’s perfectly happy chattering with him about politics and art and other topics.

It’s not that Simon didn’t approve of the change- in fact, it was the exact opposite- but again… what the hell?

Magnus can’t have told her the truth about… what happened. Camille would likely be dead already. Clary had a temper, and wouldn’t be able to hold herself back.

(Simon wished that he, himself, could pull a Buffy and stake Camille right through the heart. Sadly, he knew it would only make things worse for his friend, and he dared not. He respected Magnus’s wishes, even if he wanted to rip the bitch’s head off.)

If nothing else, she’d be absolutely furious, not laughing and naming cats.

So how could Magnus have changed her mind? Or someone else?

“You okay, Simon?” Clary asked, snapping him out of his thoughts.

“What? Oh, uh- yeah. I’m fine.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Really. What book are you reading?”

Simon blinked. “Um.”

He looked down at his book. It was upside down.

“Sorry,” he said, sighing. “I’m just thinking.”

“Something bothering you?” she asked.

“Why are you suddenly so cool with Magnus?” he blurted. “Not that I don’t want you to get along, just-  thought you- you seemed very adamant-”

He cut himself off, blushing slightly. “Ugh. You know what I mean.”

“I- well, after you chewed me out- nice job on that, by the way-” Simon flushed slightly at that. It was a little embarrassing, how he’d blown up like that, but he didn’t regret it either. “-I thought… well, you’re right. So I… went to talk to him.”

Simon blinked. Clary looked a little embarrassed. “I may have accidently made him drop his book,” she admitted sheepishly, “But he was very… forgiving. And we went for coffee- don’t give me that look, as friends- and, well…” she shrugged.

“He charmed your socks off!” Simon grinned, earlier trepidation gone.

Clary laughed. “Basically. We also had a few cocktails- of which he has excellent taste in- and found four abandoned kittens on the side of the road. It was probably the most eventful night I’ve had in weeks. And for our friend group, that’s saying something.”

“That tends to happen,” Simon nodded, still smiling. “He’s one of those people who tends to turn everything into an adventure. I should tell you about the time we went to see the Graduate with Raphael- now that was a wild night.”

“He just- he was so nice.” she said, sounding a little disbelieving. “All those times we were… not very kind… and he just smiled, and said he didn’t blame me! And we named cats together! Bad pun names!”

“That’s Magnus for you,” Simon shrugged. “He’s a very forgiving person."

Clary sighed. “I just feel so bad now.”

“You should feel bad,” Simon said. “But do remember that you tried. You apologized, you talked to him… You chose to be better.” He shrugged. “That’s why I forgave you. It’s okay.”

Clary smiled. “You’re a good friend, you know that?”

Simon ducked his head. “Well,” he started, but he was interrupted by a sugary sweet voice calling, “Clarissa Fairchild?”

Someone approached from behind them.

They both turned.

Simon went completely still.

Clary looked like she wasn’t sure how to react.

Camille stood there, red lips (didn’t she ever wear different lipstick? Simon wondered) curled into a devious grin.

Well, fuck.

She looked between them. “Oh, hello, truffle,” she said, pretending to look surprised at Simon’s presence. “I didn’t expect to see you so soon.”

Simon scowled. “Don’t call me that.”

Camille looked surprised for a moment before her lips curled into a Cheshire smile. “Ooh,” she said, “You’ve grown teeth! How exciting.”

She turned back to Clary, effectively dismissing Simon (who sputtered indignantly) without another word. “But I’m not here for him. I’m here for you, Clary, dear. How have you been?”

“Oh, I’ve been great,” Clary said brightly- Simon sent her a look of betrayal- and she tilted her head, sunny smile never fading. “You know what would be even greater? If you got out of my face!”

Camille’s grin faltered. “What?” she asked, clearly sharper than she’d intended.

Clary dropped her smile in a second. “Look,” she said lowly, “I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know exactly what happened or who did it. But I do know that I trust him-” she nodded to Simon, “-someone I’ve known all of my life, more than I trust you. And if he says you did something horrible… then I believe him.”

Simon felt something like disbelief and affection swelling in his chest. Clary listened to him. 

Camille’s eyes narrowed. “Really?” she said. “I suppose this is about Magnus Bane?”

Their silence spoke for them. She looked victorious.

“Then I suppose truffle would be willing to tell you all about the breakup, all about Will, all about the cheating, all about the bruises?

Simon blanched.

The bruises- that fucking bitch. Simon knew what she was implying, but she knew, she knew, Magnus had never once- never once in his whole goddamn life- raised a hand to her (or anyone else).

But the bruises- there were bruises, all right, but not on her, not on her…

Clary’s gaze darted over to him for a second, uncertainty flickering across her face.

Camille smirked. “I thought not.”

She turned to leave. “Well, if we’re not going to be catching up, Clarissa,” she said, “I suppose I’ll be going. But it’s best you remember Magnus Bane… he’s not a good person. He seems nice, but, well… he destroys everything he touches.”

She gave her a look full of false sympathy (did Clary know it was false, Simon wondered, did she know) and then turned on one heel and left as dramatically as she’d entered.

 

 “It’s not my story to tell,” Simon said immediately. “But I swear, it’s not what she’s making it look like, Magnus never laid a fucking hand on her-”

“Simon-” Clary tried.

“-and I’m not saying that because he’s my friend, because if I thought there was even a chance he hurt someone like that, you know I’d be pissed, you know that, but not only would he never, ever do that, I know for a fact he didn’t, I know-”

“Simon!” Clary shouted. He fell silent, fists still clenched. “I wasn’t going to ask,” she said. “I figured there was more to the story. I just- I was just going to ask…”

She hesitated.

“What?” Simon asked.

“Why did she call you truffle?

Simon blushed. "It's not- not really a long story," he said. "She said I... looked delicious? There was some sort of metaphor about a sweet center, it was actually pretty creepy..."

"Camille flirted with you?" Clary asked incredulously.

Simon laughed nervously. "No need to sound so surprised."

"No, I didn't mean it like that-" Clary rushed, "I just meant-"

"It's fine," Simon said, lips twisting downwards slightly. "I know what you meant."

"No, you don't," she said fiercely, grabbing his shoulder. "I was just worried she'd hurt you!"

Simon blinked, the ugly mixture of shame and anger dying down like cooling lava. "Oh," he said lamely.

"Yeah, oh," Clary said, pushing him back playfully. "Asshole." 

Simon sighed. "N-no, she never got too far. Soon after that, she set her eyes on Magnus."

His fists clenched unconsciously. 

She put her hands on his. "Simon," she said, "He's going to be fine."

After a moment, he sighed. Clary looked up hesitantly. "Simon?" she asked.

Simon raised his eyebrows. "Yes?"

"What did she do to him?"

(She thought of the kind man she'd shared coffee with the other night, thought of his bright smile and enthusiasm for life, and wondered what Camille could have done- Camille, why was it still so hard to believe that Camille did this- what she could have done to him, what effect it might've had.

She vaguely remembered seeing him, all those years ago, on a normal day and noting he was sick. Red-rimmed eyes ringed with dark bruises, pale skin, and that hollow, blank look- she hadn't thought much of it at the time, too distracted by Camille's stories of his cruelty, thinking it must be karma, but now she wondered if that had been the flu, karma, or whatever it was that she'd thought, or if it had been her. She wondered what Camille could've possibly said, possibly done, to make someone so bright and happy look so dim and lifeless.)

Simon's face darkened.

"She broke him," he said, "But I told you. It's not my story to tell."

Clary hunched her shoulders. "Sorry," she said quietly. "I just- god, it's hard to believe, you know? I trust you, but it's hard to believe Camille did this. Maybe I'm just... idolizing her memory. I mean, that Camille-" she nodded out the door she'd exited, "Doesn't seem the same."

Simon huffed. "Heroes always have feet of clay," he said.

"I suppose so," Clary said. "But she always seemed different, I guess."

"Like Allison, your first gay crisis?"

Clary sputtered. "You promised never to speak of her! Do you want to start talking about your crush on Raphael?"

"It was for like a week!" Simon protested, blushing.

"It still counts!"

"A week!"

"More like two months."

"Well, you were attracted to Alec."

"Oh, please, like you weren't. Have you seen his ass?"

"True," Simon conceded. "But it's still weird."

Clary rolled her eyes. "So... we're good?" she said, serious again (if only for a moment).

"We're good," Simon agreed.

There was a moment.

"What about Maureen?"

"I swear to god, Clary-"

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

ALEC POV. AND MAGNUS TOO?? IDK, YOU’RE PROBABLY USED TO MY BULLSHIT POV CHANGES NOW

 

Waking up with Magnus next to him, safe, never got any less wonderful.

Magnus was already awake- or at least, half awake, his warm brown eyes blinking sleepily at Alec. One hand came up to Alec’s face to brush some hair away, a tender echo of what Alec had done the night before.

“G’morning,” he murmured, giving him a small, sweet smile.

“Good morning,” Alec replied, voice rumbly with sleep.

There was a loud miaaaaow! from the other room.

Magnus gave a soft sigh, closing his eyes for a moment.

“I think the Chairman is hungry,” Alec told him, amused.

Magnus groaned reluctantly. “But I’m warm,” he whined half-heartedly, burrowing into the blankets further, “And comfy.”

Alec laughed softly, squirming closer to kiss him. His boyfriend sighed happily, eyes fluttering closer as he earnestly kissed back.

The moment was broken by another loud complaint from the cat. Alec reluctantly pulled away, small smile tracing his lips. “You should feed him,” he said seriously.

Magnus sighed, grudgingly extracting himself from Alec’s embrace and crawling out of the covers, shivering slightly as he left the warmth of the bed.

His bare feet were chilly against the tile of the kitchen. “Chairman?” he called. “Where did you go?”

Magnus looked around, brow furrowing. The apartment was so silent he could hear the soft sounds of Alec breathing from the bedroom.

Meow.”

He jumped, spinning around to see the Chairman sitting on one of the stools, looking very pleased with himself.

“You damn ninja,” he scolded after catching his breath. “You gave me a fright.”

Chairman Meow didn’t look any less pleased. In fact, he looked more pleased.

Magnus dug out some cat food, opening the can and putting it on the floor. The Chairman gave him a vaguely disdainful look. Magnus sighed and put it on the stool next to him.

The cat gave an approving look, as if saying, Good boy.

He heard shuffling noises from the bedroom, and the sound of Alec groaning.

“You okay in there, darling?” Magnus called, opening a cupboard. “What do you want for breakfast?”

Alec shambled in, blinking blearily. “I dunno,” he said. “I could make bacon, if you want.”

“W- I don’t have any left,” Magnus said.

Sometimes he forgot they didn’t technically live together.

With Ragnor basically living with his boyfriend and the amount of domesticity they’d grown into, plus the fact that if Magnus wasn’t sleeping at Alec’s place then it was the other way around, they basically lived together.

But technically they didn’t.

And Magnus certainly wasn’t going to rush anything in this relationship- this was one thing he wouldn’t let himself screw up. And he wasn’t going to make the dumb mistake of moving too fast and scaring Alec away.

(It almost scared him how much he lov-cared about Alec already. How much it would hurt to lose him.)

“Magnus?”

Alec’s voice broke him out of his thoughts.

“Sorry, I spaced out,” Magnus said, “You know, I could make waffles? Blueberry waffles. Mmm.”

Alec laughed. “Sure. Any way I can help?”

Magnus gave a coy smile. “Stand there and look pretty?”

Alec raised an eyebrow.

“Or just sit here and entertain me,” Magnus added cheerfully.

“I can do that,” Alec grinned, sitting down. “Should I put some music on?”

 

Magnus was wonderful at cooking blueberry waffles, apparently, despite his tendency to make crispy, flavorless mush out of eggs.

Of course, he had burned the first batch, but that was actually Alec’s fault. He was such a beautiful distraction. Especially when he tried to dance.

“We should probably get to the university soon,” Alec said through a mouthful of waffle.

“Don’t speak with your mouth full,” Magnus chided. “We’ll be fine. We don’t have class for another three hours.”

Once they’d finished their waffles (as much as they could, debating whether werewolves could control their shifting) they, of course, ended up kissing.

“Hmm,” Magnus said playfully, lips an inch away from Alec’s, “You taste like blueberries.”

Alec grinned, leaning into kiss him again- but the moment was shattered by the phone, ringing shrilly. Alec sighed and pulled away.

He grabbed his phone to turn it off, but then saw the name- he flushed. “Magnus, do you mind if I take this?”

“Of course,” Magnus said, “I should go get dressed anyway.” He gave Alec another quick kiss and went off to the bedroom.

 

When Magnus came back in, fully dressed and glimmering, Alec was arguing with whoever was on the phone.

“No- no. Mom, I-” he huffed, evidently having been cut off. After a moment of listening to- well, apparently his mother- he stiffened and said firmly, “Enough, Mother. Say whatever you want about my ‘deplorable life choices’ but don’t talk about Isabelle like that.”

Another pause.

“I- I know,” he sighed, rubbing his forehead. He looked up at Magnus, a tired smile crossing his face. “Look, I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay? I’ve gotta go.”

There was another moment, then, “Love you too, Mom,” Alec said, still weary, and hung up.

“You look wonderful,” he said quietly, turning to Magnus. “As usual, of course.”

“Something wrong?” Magnus asked softly, moving closer.

“No,” Alec exhaled. “Just the usual. My parents are disappointed in me, in Isabelle, why can’t we be more like Jace?”

“Like Jace?” Magnus asked, incredulity bleeding through his voice unwillingly.

Alec gave a small laugh. “He’s the golden boy of the family. It’s not his fault, he’s just…”

His voice trailed off.

After a moment, his voice picked up. “Well, they haven’t noticed that he’s not completely heterosexual yet, anyway,” he said. “None of us are. Even Max is… uh… curious.”

Magnus gave a startled laugh. “Jace isn’t straight?” he asked. “Huh. Who’da guessed?”

Alec chuckled, shaking his head. “Admittedly, he prefers girls,” he said, “But no.”

“Well,” Magnus said, winding his arms around Alec, “Are you sure you don’t want to talk about it?”

Some tight, defensive part of Alec wanted to say, do you want to talk about Camille? but he bit his tongue.

“Yes,” he said, echoing Magnus’s earlier words and leaning into his boyfriend’s embrace, “But not right now.”

Magnus tensed slightly, apparently recognizing his word choice, but he didn’t say anything. His arms tightened around Alec slightly. Even though he was shorter and slighter (although by no means was he skinny- he was surprisingly muscled, actually) he had a tight, warm grip.

Alec took a deep breath, closing his eyes and letting Magnus just support him for a long moment.

Then he pulled away, stepping back towards the bathroom.

“I should go get dressed,” he said sheepishly. “Class starts soon. But- uh. After class. There’s this place… I wanted to try?”

He was blushing. Magnus pressed back a smile. Alec still blushed and stuttered when he asked him on dates even though they’d been dating for quite a while now. It was adorable.

“Are you asking me on a date, Alexander?” Magnus asked coyly.

“Yes,” Alec said.

“I accept gladly as always, my dear.” Magnus replied warmly. “Text me, darling?”

Alec’s lips quirked up. “Of course.”

Magnus stepped forward, kissing Alec deeply.

A minute passed, and then Alec pulled away, eyes bright and cheeks flushed. “See you tonight,” he said to Magnus, smiling, then he slipped into the bathroom to change.

There was a moment where Magnus just stood there, until he checked the time.

“Oh, dear,” Magnus said, “Class does start soon.”

 

 

ISABELLE POV

 

“What do you really think about this?” Jace asked, tone too casual and light to be anything but dead serious.

Isabelle frowned. “Think about what?”

“You know what,” Jace scoffed. “Alec and Magnus Bane. I mean, really? Magnus Bane?”

Isabelle sighed. “I don’t know, Jace. Maybe… maybe we’re wrong.”

Jace let out a long groan, rolling his head back dramatically. “Ugh… I know it’s Alec’s choice, and really, he could do worse than Bane. I don’t even have a problem with him. It’s just- I- ugh. I don’t know. I just…”

“You’re just worried,” Isabelle finished.

It was uncharacteristic of Jace to ramble like that- only the people he really cared about could do that to him at all.

“Yeah,” Jace exhaled.

“So am I,” she said. “But- shit, Jace, I’ve never seen him like this. They were-”

She broke off, searching for the words. Jace raised an eyebrow. His sister was rarely speechless.

“-sweet,” she said finally, not sure what else to say. “Domestic, almost. Hell, Ba- Magnus looked at him like he hung the moon. He clearly adores Alec!”

“I just don’t want him getting hurt,” Jace said, “Not again.”

“I know!” she said. “But I really think- maybe, just maybe, Bane is good for him. Think, Jace, have you ever seen him so happy? Have you ever seen Alec smile so much?”

“To love is to destroy,” Jace said darkly.

“Don’t go quoting your bullshit biological father,” Isabelle said angrily. “This isn’t about you or your daddy issues! I just want Alec to be happy. And if Magnus Bane makes him happy, so be it.”

“And we’ll be there?” Jace asked, raising an eyebrow. “If- or when- Bane breaks his heart?”

“If,” Isabelle said sharply. “And of course. When have we not been? But- we owe that to him, at least. To give Magnus a chance.”

Jace sighed again. “I suppose,” he said, but she could tell he was sincere.

There was a long moment.

“But if he does break Alec’s heart, I reserve the right to punch him,” he added.

Isabelle rolled her eyes. “Fair enough,” she said.

“Hey, Izzy…” Jace asked, turning his puppy dog eyes to her.

She averted her gaze. “What do you want?”

“Can Clary and I borrow your car?”

Isabelle gave him a look. “Why?”

“We were going to go to see a movie,” he said, “But she hates public transportation.”

“This is why you need a car,” she sighed, holding out the keys. “Fine. When are you leaving, when will you be coming back?”

He grabbed the keys and grinned. “Right now, sometime late tonight? Oh, look at the time, gotta go!”

“Jace-!” she warned, but he took off. “God damn it.”

Alec approached, smiling lightly. “What’s wrong?”

“Do you mind giving me a ride of home?” Isabelle asked. “Jace just took my car keys.”

“Do you mind stopping by Magnus’s place first?” Alec asked. “I left something there earlier and I’m going on a date soon.”

“Oh, a date,” she said, grinning. “Of course I don’t mind.”

 

As they pulled up, Alec noticed a car parked nearby that ticked something in his brain. He couldn’t quite place where he knew it from.

Isabelle followed him to the door. “You have a key?” she asked.

“I’ve had it for a while- All of Magnus’s friends have,” Alec said, “In case he and Ragnor try to make a cake again.”

She gave him a bemused look.

“Is following me really necessary?” he asked before she could ask for that story.

“Yes,” she said as he opened the door, “Because-”

But he never got to hear her reasoning, because when he opened the door, he could see inside. And when he could see inside, he could see Camille, hair mussed like she’d just had sex, lips red, one hand on his face, the other under his shirt, on his hip, pushing him against the wall right by the door (as if she couldn’t wait) and kissing him fiercely- Magnus. Magnus and Camille.

Alec couldn’t think. He couldn’t breathe.

Maybe there was a rational explanation- in fact, there probably was. No, there almost definitely was. But he couldn’t keep a train of thought, it just kept derailing to Camille and Magnus, Camille and Magnus, because they were kissing and what if Izzy had been right-?

He felt dizzy and sick and he knew he’d gone pale. He’d dropped his keys.

He could faintly hear Isabelle saying something loudly, Magnus saying something frantically, Camille chuckling, low and rough and full of lust and sex-

Alec had to get out.

He ignored Isabelle, he ignored Camille’s throaty chuckles, he ignored Magnus calling his name (was he crying?) and he just turned and ran. He left, he couldn’t stand to be there anymore.

He just needed some time, to process, to think, because what if they were right? What if they weren’t? They couldn’t be, could they, but he’d sounded like he was enjoying it, what if he-? But what if she just-?

Alec needed to think.

He kept running.

 

MAGNUS POV - earlier

 

Classes were over, but it wasn’t quite time for his date with Alexander yet.

He’d actually had quite an eventful day: Ragnor had bet he couldn’t hit his professor with a ping pong ball without getting in trouble. Magnus had hit three different teachers with over six ping pong balls each without getting in trouble. (He hit Professor Garroway eight times and Jocelyn once. Just once.)

They ended up turning it into a competition. Raphael, the little shit, won even though he only turned up halfway through, by somehow managing to throw seventeen ping pong balls at Professor Morgenstern. Seventeen.

Where are they getting all these ping pong balls, you ask?

Well, Ragnor bought a bag for the occasion. Because the fucker knew that Magnus would take it as a challenge and then it would escalate. He probably even calculated that Raphael would win, and now they’re sharing the winnings.

As he entered his apartment, closing the door behind him, he pondered what he could do for revenge. Water balloons, maybe? Hmm. A bit messy…

Magnus was snapped out of his vengeance plots by an unexpected noise.

“Chairman?” he called. “Was that you?”

“Is that what this thing’s called?” A decidedly not friendly voice said behind him, low and smooth.

He spun around to see Camille- fucking Camille was here, why, why- standing there like she owned the place, like he’d given her a key (he had, a long time ago, but he’d changed the locks and he’d moved since then, did she break into his house) and she was holding the Chairman in her slender arms.

The cat did not look happy to see her, (Good kitty, Magnus praised mentally) tail thrashing and trying to claw his way out of her grip.

She squeezed very hard for a second, the Chairman letting out an uncharacteristically undignified screech, before going limp in her arms- not unconscious or dead, just angry. His tail continued to lash back and forth, irritated.

“W-what the hell are you doing here?” he manages to sound firm and angry, trying not to let his nerves and fear show.

“Oh, how funny,” she said, as if talking to a small child. “It seems truffle isn’t the only one who’s grown a pair. And here I thought you were a crybaby.”

His fists clenched. “Get out,” he demanded, trying not to shake.

“Don’t be oversensitive,” she chided, stepping closer, letting the Chairman escape from her arms with a hiss. He wanted to step back, but knew it would only make her all the more powerful if he did.

“I love you,” she said softly, brown eyes wide and- they almost seemed soft, but they were glittering with that same dark amusement, cruelty. “Surely the past in the past… I’ve missed you…”

“L-leave me alone.”

“Is this about your newest plaything?” she asked softly, and he could almost feel her breath, why couldn’t he push her away, he felt like his limbs were made of lead- “You don’t have to get rid of him,” she continued. “I don’t mind. He’s certainly handsome…”

“Leave Alec out of this,” Magnus hissed.

“C’mon,” she pouted, that adorable, sweet pout he’d always liked- “Please? You know I love you, I never wanted to hurt you-” Her fingers trailed up his arm, lips curling as his breath hitched.

He scoffed, jerking his arm away. “Never wanted to hurt me?” he demanded slightly hysterically. “I’m sure- I’m sure that slapping someone is the definition of trying to hurt them-”

She rolled her eyes, “It was barely a tap, grow up- we were arguing-”

“-cheating, lying, manipulating-”

“Oh, please, I wouldn’t have to lie about where I was going if you weren’t so clingy and needy-”

“-raping,” his voice broke, and her expression changed.

“I never once gave you something you didn’t want,” she challenged sharply.

“Oh, really?” he asked. “The party at Wesley’s house? That night at the club during the storm? The night before mid-terms where you practically spiked my drink-

“I just added a little more alcohol to get you to loosen up,” she dismissed, “It’s not my fault you were too weak to handle it-”

“I could barely walk.” He said sharply. “And- those times you- you did things I told you I was uncomfortable with, the times you got mad and h-hit me-”

“You could have said no,” she said, “Anytime. And please,” she snorted, “if a girl can hit you, you deserve it. Besides, you deserved it. You were being an ass.”

“I didn’t do anything!” he almost roared. “I-it took me too long to see that, that it was you, you were the problem-”

She laughed and pressed closer to him, and this time he did take a step back, he knew his hands were shaking- but with rage or fear, he didn’t know. “Baby,” she said softly again, “I’m sorry.”

Those were the magic words.

For so long, those were the only words Magnus had wanted to hear. Just an apology. That’s all.

She gave a (false, it was false) sweet smile, and said again, “I’m sorry, baby, I love you, I just- I get so angry, sometimes, I’ve been trying therapy- But I miss you. I need you, baby, I need someone I can always count on-”

Magnus wanted to believe her. He wanted to believe her so fucking badly. He wanted to help her so badly.

He leaned forward.

“Fuck off, Camille,” he said quietly.

He didn’t have to forgive her. He didn’t have to.

Her face twisted in anger, just for a split second, before smoothing into a sad mask.

“What you did was wrong,” he said. “It- it was abuse, it was sexual assault- and I can’t be around you anymore. I have someone now. Someone who- who cares about me.

“I love you,” Camille said in a small voice (she was faking it- he could tell, by her flickering eyes and tense spine). “Does he?”

No, Magnus thought, probably not. But that’s not the point, is it?

He’d always wanted to believe she loved him. Loved him like he’d loved her.

She said she did. He’d believed her, for a while.

Until that love began to hinge on things. On things she wanted to do to him in bed, on a purse, on sex…

For valentine’s day, he remembered, he’d gotten her a beautiful ruby necklace. And in French, her native language- True Love Never Dies.

She’d shrugged and said it was okay.

He’d put so much time and effort into it.

He knew she wasn’t obliged to like it, but- she just plain hadn’t cared.

Maybe that was when he first started to doubt.

(Not the first time she hit him. There had always been some tiny part of his brain that agreed with her- that he deserved it. Maybe- well, maybe now he knew better.)

“You don’t love me either,” he said finally. Maybe he was ready to let go of that faint and foolish dream.

Because even if he would never trade her for Alec, he’d always clung to the thought that maybe, deep down somewhere, she had cared about him. Not just what he could do for her, what reputation he gave her.

But it was a pipe dream. A useless one.

There was a long moment, where she kept giving him the sad eyes.

Then, apparently seeing the determination, the resigned acceptance that she didn’t love him- that she never had- all of the softness dropped from her face in an instant.

“Well, you were fun,” she said, lips twisting disdainfully. “You certainly meant something… But love? No.” She gave him a considering look. “You really have grown up, haven’t you?”

He wanted to collapse.

Knowing it and hearing her- hearing her just so causally inform him that she’d never loved him at all-

He wanted to scream, he wanted to cry.

“But,” she sighed, dark eyes gleaming. “Now you’ve made me angry.”

“I don’t give a damn,” he said recklessly, hands trembling. “Now get out.”

She smirked. “What was this boytoy of yours called? You know, he doesn’t love you. I could… eventually. Give me some time, some caring… fix me.”

His lips twisted downwards. “No one can fix you, Camille. And even if I could- I wouldn’t. I don’t…. I don’t love you anymore. You’re a bad memory. I’m sorry. Now leave.

He felt sorry. The weird thing was, he actually did. He felt horrible. He felt horrible for abandoning her- not that she wouldn’t be fine, likely already planning on preying on some other man (or other, who knows with Camille)- and he felt horrible for missing her, in a way.

He moved forward to push her towards the door.

There was a shuffling noise outside. The key turning in the lock. Muffled voices.

She gave a devilish grin.

She grabbed his face with one hand, nails sharp and biting, the other going to his hip, slipping under his shoulders, her sharp nails digging into his hip, too. He felt paralyzed as she pushed him aggressively into the wall, kissing him deeply. He didn’t return the kiss, he just- he couldn’t-

He hated himself for liking her soft lips, liking her scent- but he was also choking on it, choking on a million flashbacks of her hands holding him down, choking on a million memories of bruises and blood-

The door opened, Isabelle and Alec walked in, and from his peripheral, Magnus could see him go ashen and pale, could see him drop the keys- he could see Isabelle’s eyes widen, could see Alec turn and run-

He snapped out of it, tearing out of Camille’s arms, shaking badly as he practically threw her away from him, breaths coming too fast.

“A-Alexander!” he called after him, hating how his voice cracked, hating how scared he sounded.  

But he was gone.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

ISABELLE POV

 

Isabelle was torn. Anger and confusion and hurt warred in her, but then she looked up- Magnus (her brother trusted him, she’d trusted him-) was tearing himself away from Camille, overbalancing and falling to the floor. His eyes were wide and afraid, and when he called her brother’s name he looked so… scared. Defeated.

His vision skated over to Camille, full of dread and horrified anger, of fear, and her lips twist into a smirk. They didn’t seem to have really noticed Isabelle, standing almost in the shadows by the doorway as she was.

She laughed, low and cruel and rough, and she advanced on him like a predator.

It began to really register- all this time. All this time she’d been listening to what Camille said, through Clary’s mouth, through others- listening to he broke my heart, he hurt me, he said horrible things, he hit me- and it had been lies.

Because he wasn’t- he wasn’t angry, or disdainful, he didn’t look at her with lust or rage, he looked scared.

“I love you, Magnus,” she cooed, but she sounded so fake even Isabelle could hear it. She was mocking him. “Oh, but he doesn’t, does he? That’s a pattern for you, isn’t it?” she gave him a look full of false sympathy as she leaned down to eye-level with him.

Her eyes gleamed with malice. Her voice turned hard, all traces of sympathy- even false- fleeing her face in a second. “Unrequited love’s a bitch, huh?”

He looks so stunned, so sad and he’s shaking- and then she raises a hand.

She thinks they’re alone, Isabelle realizes. Her nails are sharp. Magnus flinches back.

That’s the last straw. Isabelle’s jaw clenched, and she marched towards them.

Camille had a second to turn in surprise before Isabelle punched her, hard.

(This was, what, the fifth time someone had punched someone for him? The third time someone had punched her for him. Magnus wondered what he could possibly have done to deserve such concern from anyone. From Isabelle most of all.)

Isabelle spat at her feet. “Bitch.”

Chairman Meow curls out of his hiding space loftily, darting into Magnus’s arms and settling, glaring darkly at Camille. Magnus held him gingerly, petting him, but his hands were shaking.

He looks up at Camille, mustering his strength, and said, “Get out of my home.”

Camille’s face twisted into an ugly sneer and she pulled herself to her feet. “Don’t come crawling to me like the needy bitch you are when your boytoy breaks your heart,” she hissed.

“The man said leave,” Isabelle spat, pushing her towards the door.

She glared for a moment, ripping Isabelle’s arm away from hers.

She left without another word, smoldering and beautiful as she had been when she’d first walked in.

Isabelle walked over to Magnus, offering him a hand. He gave her an uncertain look, but with one arm he scooped up the Chairman, and with the other he grabbed her hand, pulling himself to his feet.

“Thank you,” he said quietly.

She gave him a considering look. “I’m going to go talk to my brother, okay, so please, just stay here-”

He looked stunned. “But why? Why help me? You’ve always hated me and you just saw me and my ex kissing-”

She looked unimpressed. “Uh, no, I saw your ex kissing you, and frankly you were obviously scared of her, and I don’t like that at all. Trust me, Alec knows this. He knows you. He just needs time to think, that’s all.”

He seemed unconvinced. Isabelle sighed. “Look, I’m going to go find him and knock some sense into him. Do what you want.”

She left as wordlessly as Camille had, albeit not burning with anger.

 

Magnus picked up his phone. His hands were still shaking (why couldn’t he just get over it, she was gone) and he dialed a number.

 

RAGNOR POV

 

Ragnor was having a relatively good day. He’d just finished a date with Raphael- it had gone exceedingly well, and he had the marks to prove it.

Also, the pasta had been simply delicious.

He was in an excellent mood, even though he and his boyfriend had parted ways so that Raphael could go practice with the band.

His phone rang.

Humming cheerfully (which was quite unlike him) he didn’t bother checking who it was, he just picked up. “Hello?”

R-Ragnor…” Magnus’s voice came through the line, shaky but strong.

“Magnus?” Ragnor said, brows furrowing with concern. “Are you alright?”

Camille- Camille came to the apartment,” he choked out, “Sh-she… A-alec saw…”

His voice broke.

“I’ll be right there,” Ragnor said immediately.

 

When he got there, he knocked to let Magnus know he was there but let himself in.

Magnus was in the bedroom, sitting on the edge of the bed, face drawn and pale.

He looked… fragile, for the lack of a better word.

Seeing Magnus like this was scary, really, because Ragnor had rarely seen him so vulnerable.

He was a strong person, and he only cried when he was overwhelmed with guilt or fear or grief- or when a particularly beloved fictional character died.

But Camille had always had a way of getting under his skin. Absently, he wondered what she’d done now, but quite frankly, it didn’t matter as long as Magnus was okay.

“Magnus?” he said softly, approaching.

Magnus looked up, eyes wet, but no tears falling. “I told her off,” he said hollowly. “I told her- I told her she was wrong, that- that what she did was wrong... Sh- she asked for help, she said she loved me-”

“Magnus,” Ragnor said gently, sitting next to him, “I don’t think-”

Magnus leaned into him, shivering. “She was lying,” he said into his shoulder, voice breaking. “I know.”

Ragnor hesitantly put an arm around him, and said softly, “That’s her loss.”

Magnus shuddered harder, curling into his one-armed embrace. “S-she said that, she said she never loved me, then she- Alec was here, and she-”

He broke off.

Ragnor didn’t push. He wasn’t much of the hugging type, but- his friend needed him. And if he needed to be held, Ragnor could do that.

There was a long moment where Magnus just sniffled, still trembling, seemingly unable to stop, and Ragnor said nothing, hand soothingly rubbing his shoulder.

Finally, Magnus choked out, “She kissed me, I- I didn’t want it, I swear, she just- and Alec saw- and… I don’t think he’s coming back.”

His voice broke along with Ragnor’s heart.

“Oh, my friend,” Ragnor said sadly, wrapping his other arm around him, “You deserve so much better.”

Ragnor felt so angry.

Angry at Camille for hurting his friend, angry at Alec for running away, angry at the world for being so cruel to a kind soul like Magnus.

He wanted to hit someone, he wanted to never let his friend go, because hadn’t Magnus suffered enough?

Magnus hadn’t stopped shaking, sniffles turning into tiny, helpless sobs that shook his whole frame. “She- she felt awful, I didn’t want it, I swear-”

He couldn’t stop thinking about her, about Alec, about what could’ve happened, what will happen-

Ragnor squeezed a little tighter, eyes closing. “I know, Magnus,” he said quietly. He rarely called Magnus by his first name- usually opting for nicknames or titles- and that’s what jerked Magnus out of his dark thoughts. The sobs slowly died down to silent tears, and he inhaled deeply.

“God, I’m probably-” sniffle “-getting snot all over your sleeve. Sorry,” he added, pulling away slightly. “You’re always… taking care of me-”

“No,” Ragnor said gently, “We take care of each other. It’s what friends do.”

Magnus gave a weak smile. “I suppose,” he said. His eyes were red-rimmed, but Ragnor could tell he was already working on collecting himself. He did so hate being ‘weak’.

They were sitting side-by-side again, no longer embracing, but Magnus still leant on his friend for support.

“How about I make you some hot chocolate?” Ragnor asked with a quiet chuckle, “And I know for a fact we still have that ridiculous collection of nail polish somewhere.”

Magnus gave him a smile, genuine this time, a bit bashful. “Sure,” he said softly.

Ragnor got up, smiling. “I’ll be back,” he said.

They shared a smile.

 

(They’d be okay.)

 

ISABELLE POV

 

Isabelle, of course, knew exactly where her brother was.

He always went to the same place when he needed to think. Well, almost always.

 

She let herself into his apartment after he didn’t answer the door.

The apartment was dark and empty. She knew he was here.

 

Sure enough, he was on the fire escape.

It was a cliché thinking place, and he knew it (she’d informed him of it many times) but he’d always said that clichés were cliché for a reason.

“You’ve got to talk to him, you know,” she said softly, standing next to him. The cool breeze ruffled her hair.

He jumped slightly, shoulders tensing.

“What, you’re not glad to be right?” Alec asked, a slight bitterness overlaying the pain in his voice.

“But I wasn’t right,” Isabelle said sharply. “There’s more to the story and you know it. Magnus clearly adores you-”

“Jesus Christ, Izzy, don’t you think I know that?” Alec exploded. “I do, I know that, and I’m gonna give him a chance to explain, God knows he deserves that much, it’s just-”

He sighed. “I don’t know… I just needed some time alone, I guess. I wasn’t- I wasn’t thinking straight.”

Isabelle snorted, and Alec gave her a warning look.

“Did you ever think maybe he doesn’t know that?” she asked after a moment.

“What?”

“Does he know you plan on coming back?” she clarified. “Because I don’t think he does.”

Alec’s eyes widened. “Christ, Izzy, do you think-? I just left, what if he- oh, shit!”

He scrambled to his feet. “Izzy, I gotta go. Thank you.”

Isabelle grinned, stopping him for a second. “It’s funny, isn’t it?” she asked.

He blinked.

“Me, convincing you to kiss and make up with Magnus Bane,” she clarified.

Alec gave her a blinding smile, sweet with that underlying worry, yet so happy it made her heart ache.

“Admit it,” he teased, “You like him.”

“I concede nothing,” she said. “Now go get him.”

 

As Alec gave her a quick, brotherly peck on the cheek and darted away, she turned back to look out at the sky.

Who would’ve thought she’d be defending Magnus Bane, of all people? Who would’ve thought her brother would be dating him?

Really, she should’ve seen it before.

She felt kind of stupid, now, believing all the things she’d heard about him. Magnus clearly was no worse than she was, no worse than Jace or Clary. And Camille was most certainly a problem- the way he’d flinched, the way she’d talked to him… Isabelle didn’t like it. She didn’t like it one bit.

Something was wrong. And she dearly hoped Alec could help fix it.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

ALEC POV

 

When Alec knocked on the door, he was nervous as hell.

When Ragnor answered, he didn’t feel any better.

He was holding a mug of hot chocolate, looking distinctly unimpressed.

“Lightwood,” he said, raising an eyebrow.

Okay, that stung a little. Ragnor didn’t usually call him by his last name- Alec supposed he couldn’t blame him for being prickly.

“Can I- can I come in?” Alec asked hopefully, ignoring the rain (it had started raining on his way over here- of course) seeping through his jacket.

Ragnor gave him a slightly disdainful look, but after a long moment staring at Alec’s expression (hope and regret being the most apparent emotions on his face) he softened.

“Fine,” he said, not unkindly, “But take off your shoes.”

 

Alec took off his shoes.

“Where’s Magnus?” Alec asked quietly. “I need to talk to him.”

“Damn right, you do,” Ragnor muttered. “He’s in the living room.”

 

Alec walked deeper into the apartment, feeling awkward and out of place in a way he rarely felt here, of all places. The sound of the rain was muffled, but it persisted as white noise.

“Magnus?” he called out softly, venturing into the living room.

He turned to look back, wondering where Ragnor had gone off to- likely the kitchen- when a quiet voice interrupted his thoughts.

“You came back.”

It wasn’t a question; it was a disbelieving statement.

Alec turned to see Magnus, sitting on the couch with wide, sad eyes.

Alec gave a sigh of relief, sitting down and pulling him into a tight hug. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled into his shoulder, breathing him in. He knew his eyes were red-rimmed and he was probably holding Magnus too tight, but he couldn’t bring himself to care.

Magnus relaxed into his embrace almost immediately, hugging him back.

“I’m just glad you came back,” Magnus admitted quietly, “You didn’t do anything wrong. I- I wouldn’t have blamed you if you’d- you’d never wanted to see me again-”

Alec shook his head fiercely, looking him in the eye. He looked confused and- almost angry. “What?” he asked, aghast. “Never see you- no. I wouldn’t do that, not without at least asking your side of the story, at the very, absolute least-

After a moment, Alec pulled away, arms still looped around Magnus. “What happened?”

Magnus shuddered, refusing to look at him. He seemed almost ashamed. “She kissed me,” he said quietly, “But I didn’t want it. I didn’t want her, I’m sorry, I only want you-”

He had started to cry. Just a little bit. He was clutching at the back of Alec’s shirt slightly, curling closer to him.

Alec was suddenly struck by the fact that Magnus actually expected for Alec to just- just up and leave him.

He interrupted Magnus’s words with a soft kiss, letting his eyes close.

When they finally broke apart, Magnus let out a shaky breath.

“It’s not your fault,” Alec said softly. “I’m sorry for leaving.”

“You had every right to,” Magnus argued. “You saw me- kissing Camille.”

“She hurt you,” Alec said fiercely. “I don’t know exactly how, but I know she did. Please, I- you can trust me.”

Magnus didn’t say anything.

“I don’t want to force you to do anything,” Alec sighed, pulling away.

Magnus could feel the absence of his warmth like a gaping wound.

They sat cross-legged on the couch together. They weren’t looking at each other.

“The first time she hit me, I didn’t see it coming,” Magnus confessed quietly, breaking the silence. At Alec’s sharp intake of breath, he refused to make eye contact.

“She only did it when she was angry. When I- did something, or- she had a… particularly bad day. I told myself, I-” his voice broke, “I told myself I deserved it.”

Alec looked like he wasn’t sure whether to reach out or not, whether to hug him or kiss him or give him his space. He was absolutely speechless. Magnus didn’t seem to notice, eyes far away, fiddling with his rings absently.

“Then it wasn’t things I did. Then it was… things I didn’t do.”

Magnus frowned at how watery his voice sounded now. He wiped furiously at his face, at the tears he hadn’t noticed yet.

Alec put a hand on his knee, trying to convey I am here, you are safe, you are loved-

(He didn’t seem to notice that he was thinking loved, too busy worrying.)

“Dumb things,” he continued, trying not to cry. “And- I was like a toy to her. She- she told me she loved me, but- you don’t hurt someone you love, not on purpose.”

“It was wrong,” Alec said firmly, a lot calmer than he felt.

Finally, the dam broke. His shoulders shook. “And she- she- I didn’t want it,” he sobbed. “It was assault- I couldn’t even walk, much less say no-”

Alec felt helpless. He didn’t know exactly what Magnus was talking about, but- he had enough information. Camille had- she’d hurt him (he couldn’t even bring himself to think the words) and Alec couldn’t do shit about it.

Finally, he slowly wound his arms around Magnus, leaving plenty of time for him to pull away, and scooted closer. Instead of pulling away, Magnus melted into the embrace, full-on sobs wracking his body.

He was- he was sobbing, like he so very rarely did. Even before, it was hitching breaths and silent tears and quiet, helpless sobs. Controllable. Quiet.

This was harsh, unrestrained sobs that grated his throat and shook his whole body, something utterly raw and emotional.

Magnus was scared.

He wasn’t ashamed of that. He refused to be.

Here he was, crying into his boyfriend’s shoulder about an ex, of all things, and somehow… he’d never felt safer.

But he was still scared. It was irrational, he knew. Camille couldn’t reach him here, Alec wasn’t going to leave, but the possibilities still itched at his mind.

The rain continued to patter at the window.

“I’m not leaving,” Alec whispered, squeezing his eyes shut. “I promise.”

 

RAGNOR POV

 

Ragnor had given Magnus his hot chocolate and was hunting for the nail polish when there was a knock on the door.

Ragnor had a feeling he knew who it was. There was a heavy, dark feeling in his chest.

He heard Magnus stir, evidently ready to drag himself off the couch to answer the door, so he hurried to the door, making sure to shuffle past Magnus with a disapproving sit down, you look like a bedraggled cat, my friend.

He swung open the door, frowning at the familiar face. He wasn’t feeling too pleased with the boy at the moment.

“Lightwood,” he said, raising an eyebrow.

Truly, Ragnor knew that Alec had been perfectly reasonable in his reaction. But did it matter? Not particularly. Ragnor didn’t care to lie to himself and say he wasn’t biased.

 “Can I- can I come in?” Alec asked. He looked like a sad, wet cat, begging shelter from the rain. He was soaked and shivering slightly, not seeming to notice in his efforts to get to Magnus.

Ragnor stared, long and hard, before caving. He could hardly leave him out in the cold.

 “Fine,” he said, not unkindly, “But take off your shoes.”

 

Alec took off his shoes.

“Where’s Magnus?” Alec asked quietly. “I need to talk to him.”

“Damn right, you do,” Ragnor muttered. Communication is key. “He’s in the living room.”

 

Ragnor walked into the kitchen to give them some space. He could, however, hear them relatively well. Not most of their actual words, unless he made an effort, but enough to step in if needed.

Magnus would tell him to fuck off he needed to, and of course, if they started getting hot and heavy, Ragnor could take a cue.

For now, he sighed. He would give the lovebirds their space.

He pulled out his phone, deciding to watch a YouTube video or something.

 

After quite a while, he realized he hadn’t heard anything from the other room. Probably because of the storm (and the earbuds). He peered in cautiously.

Rain pounded on the windows- the storm had gotten worse.

Magnus’s shoulders were shaking, clinging to Alec, face buried in his chest. Alec’s arms were wrapped around him. His eyes were shut tight and red rimmed.

They just clung to each other, the picture of love and shared sorrow.

 

Maybe it was time to introduce Alec to an age-old tradition of nail polish, fine wine, and TV.

Ragnor frowned.

Where had he put the nail polish, anyway?

 

 

“If you two are done making out- sorry, making up-” Ragnor teased, walking in with nail polish some time later, “-I do have some nail polish. And Project Runway is on.”

Alec looked a little confused.

The two were no longer in a close embrace when Ragnor walked in this time (he’d taken almost half an hour looking for the nail polish, which had been under the bed) and while they were definitely close- Magnus was petting his tiny demon cat, which was curled up in on a ball on Alec’s chest. Alec was sprawled across the couch, head on Magnus’s lap.

Magnus shook his head, smiling.

He and Ragnor exchanged a mischievous look.

“I’ll get the wine,” Magnus said happily.

 

 

Alec looked dashing with purple nails. (On another note, Ragnor had gotten a(nother) new shade of green. He looked great in it. Magnus went with a matching purple. And some blue.)

 

(Also, while he didn’t usually care for the show, apparently when he really got into it (and was a little drunk) he was very opinionated about Project Runway. Like, ‘yelling at the screen and cussing out the judges and/or contestants’ opinionated. It’s why Izzy wouldn’t watch with him anymore.)

 

 

MAGNUS POV - THE NEXT DAY

 

When Magnus got to school, he knew something was wrong.

Whispers followed him everywhere.

 

“Okay, what’s with the whispering?” he asked Raphael when he saw him. “Do you know? Because it’s getting annoying.”

Raphael gave him a grim look. “Camille.” He said dully. “Apparently, she has a bruise, and she’s blaming it on you.”

Magnus’s eyes widened. “A bruis- oh.

Raphael tilted his head. “You know how she got it.”

It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t accusing, either.

Magnus bit his lip. “Isabelle punched her.”

“Isabelle? Isabelle Lightwood?”

“Yes.”

“…Why?”

Magnus sighed. “She saw Camille kiss me.”

Raphael’s eyebrows shot up. “And she punched Camille?

Magnus’s lips twisted. “I didn’t want her to kiss me,” he said.

“I know, querida tonto.” Raphael said gently. “But we’re both well aware of how appearances can be deceiving.”

Magnus looked down. “Alec saw, too.”

Raphael narrowed his eyes. “You did talk to him about this, right?”

“He ran,” Magnus said.

Raphael’s spine stiffened. “Dios, I swear, if you don’t go talk to him right fucking now-”

“He came back,” Magnus interrupted, rolling his eyes fondly, “But thank you for the concern.”

Raphael relaxed slightly. “And you talked?

“Yes,” Magnus said pointedly.

“And he knows about Camille now?”

“Yes,” Magnus repeated.

Raphael smirked, satisfied. “Good. So, tell me more. Isabelle Lightwood punching that maldita perra?”

“There’s not much to tell,” Magnus shrugged. “Camille showed up at my apartment, said the usual things. I’m worthless, blah blah blah, she wants me back as her chew toy, blah blah blah, how Alec will never love me-”

Raphael gave him a stern look that hid concern. “You do know that she’s lying, right?”

Magnus scoffed. “Of course,” he said, but he didn’t look at Raphael.

Raphael didn’t push it, but he was scowling. “I wish I’d given her that bruise,” he muttered under his breath. Then he said louder, “Go on, then.”

“Isabelle and Alec showed up, she kissed me before they walked in, Alec ran away and Isabelle punched her in the face.”

Raphael grinned. “Hmm. Maybe I could learn to like Alec’s sister.”

“Then Isabelle went off to find her brother, I called Ragnor- I knew you and Simon were with the band- and Alec came back later that night. We talked. That’s pretty much it.”

“You know we would’ve come?” Raphael said. “If you’d called.”

Magnus’s fingers twitched, twisting a ring. “I know,” he said. “But I didn’t want to interrupt your practice again.”

Raphael gave him a disapproving look.

 

“Mr. Bane,” someone called out, interrupting their conversation.

They turned to see Professor Garroway standing in the doorway of his office. “Can I speak with you?”

“I don’t know, can you?” Raphael asked, raising his eyebrows.

Professor Garroway laughed. “Mr. Bane,” he emphasized. “May I speak with you?”

“Sure,” Magnus said, shooting Raphael an uncertain look. “I’ll catch up later,” he said.

“If you say so,” Raphael said, shaking his head fondly. “But don’t think this conversation is over.”

He left, and Magnus turned to look at the professor.

“Do come in,” Professor Garroway said quietly.

Chapter Text

LUKE POV

 

“Am I in trouble?” Magnus asked wryly.

“No,” Luke said quietly, sitting down.

“Are you sure?” Magnus asked, raising his eyebrows.

Luke let out a heavy sigh, leaning back in his chair. “No,” he admitted. “Do you know why you’re here?”

Magnus’s lips tightened. His eyes were dull. “Camille, I presume,” he said flatly.

“Camille,” Luke agreed. “It’s a very serious matter. You could get expelled… or far worse.”

Magnus exhaled rather shakily. “Go on, then,” he said.

Everything about the boy’s posture screamed defeated, resigned. Like he’d already lost.

Luke didn’t know what to think.

Camille had come crying to his office this morning with a large bruise blossomed across her cheek, saying that her ex-boyfriend had attacked her, that he tried to force himself on her.

It was a very serious matter, and Luke could not- would not- let it go unaddressed.

But the whole thing made him uneasy.

Of all the people who might hurt someone like this, Magnus Bane was the last Luke would suspect. He was generally very kind and generous, despite his troublemaking tendencies and sarcasm.

No matter how flippant and uncaring he seemed at times, he had never struck Luke as the type to raise a hand to anyone.

“Miss Belcourt came to my office this morning to report that you, her ex-boyfriend, assaulted her and attempted to force yourself on her,” Luke paused, trying to gauge his student’s expression.

“Is there a question in there somewhere?” Magnus asked. He was desperately trying to hold himself together, trying to seem blasé, but he was clearly not as calm as he was pretending.

That could mean any number of things.

“Is it true?” Luke asked simply.

Magnus gave him a long, hard stare. His lower lip was trembling, just slightly. His fingers played with his rings. He swallowed, putting on a brace face.

(“We could… We could tell them. You don’t have to. But- then she could never hurt you again.”)

“No.” he said. His jaw was set.

Luke sighed. “What happened, then?”

Magnus closed his eyes for a moment, apparently gathering courage.

“One tiny problem,” he said, eyes still closed. “I don’t have any proof. No one’ll believe me.”

Luke didn’t like the sound of that too much.

“I’ll believe you,” Luke said evenly. “We’ll worry about that later.”

His student refused to make eye contact, but he after a long moment of silence, he spoke.

 “She showed up at my apartment,” he said. “And I don’t mean at the door. She was in my apartment when I got there.”

Luke’s brow furrowed.

“She spouted some bullshit about how she loved me, how-” his voice broke slightly, “-no one else would, her usual spiel-”

Usual spiel?” Luke asked incredulously.

Magnus shrugged. “It’s the kind of thing she’d always say.”

Luke felt a little sick.

“Anyway, I confronted her.” Magnus said.

“About?”

“About the cheating, the lies, the bruises,” his student said quietly.

“She had the bruise when you saw her?” Luke asked, knowing it was the wrong question, the sick feeling in his stomach growing.

“No. Not that bruise,” he said, but he didn’t elaborate further. “She didn’t take it too well. She admitted that she’d been basically playing me the whole time, then…”

 

The door burst open, interrupting him.

“Camille is a liar, I punched her!” Isabelle Lightwood shouted.

“What are you-?” Magnus asked incredulously, apparently just as confused as Luke.

“Magnus didn’t touch her, she was-” she said, plowing right over him.

“Miss Lightwood,” Luke attempted.

“-and it was her fault and-”

“Miss Lightwood!”

“-she kissed him and he obviously didn’t want it-”

ISABELLE LIGHTWOOD!”

Isabelle fell silent, lips tight.

Luke sighed. “I am inclined to believe you.”

“Really?” Isabelle asked.

“Of course. I like to think I know my students- and this one in particular, my wife has known for several years.” He turned to look at Magnus, “I find it very hard to believe you would treat anyone the way Miss Belcourt describes. But, you understand, I must get both sides of the story.”

Magnus looked quietly stunned, looking between the two of them like he couldn’t believe they were there.

Isabelle gave a slightly affronted huff. “Well, good,” she said firmly. “Because Camille’s a lying bitch.”

Luke was silent for a long moment, processing what the girl had said. “You punched her?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “Why?”

“Because she was…” she hesitated, gaze darting to Magnus. His lips were tight, his face carefully blank.

“Well,” she finally said, “it’s not really my story to tell. But she got what she deserved.”

Luke did not like where this was going.

The pieces of the story he’d gotten so far were adding up to an unpleasant picture.

“Alright,” Luke said heavily. “Dismissed, I suppose.”

Isabelle nodded, lips pursed. She shot one last concerned look over at Magnus, then left wordlessly.

 

MAGNUS POV – seamless-ish continuation of the last scene, k?

 

Magnus wasn’t sure whether he should be panicking or not.

On one hand, the professor had already defended him once. (Speaking of defending, holy shit, Isabelle had gone out of her way to help him? What the fuck? This was something to think about later.)

On the other, Camille was… charming. She always got what she wanted. Always.

Professor Garroway’s face was unreadable. “Do you mind telling me what happened next?” he asked, voice surprisingly gentle despite his strangely calm expression.

“Well, I- I suppose not,” Magnus said, pulling himself together. “Where did I leave off?”

“Miss Belcourt was in your apartment,” Professor Garroway stated. “You confronted her.”

“Ah- yes.”

Magnus didn’t know if he could do this.

He’d only ever told people very, very close to him. But- well. If it got her out of his life- and more importantly, out of his friends’ lives- then it was worth it.

But would the professor even believe him?

He swallowed.

“You don’t have to tell me what you were arguing about,” Professor Garroway said softly, evidently having seen his troubled expression.

“No,” Magnus said, “I suppose I have to. It’s the only way.”

But not everything, he mentally decided. Just enough. Enough to send her away forever.

 

 

Professor Garroway was a good listener.

 

(He believed Magnus. How could he not?)

 

 

MARYSE POV

 

Maryse Lightwood wasn’t having the best day.

Of course, she rarely had good days anymore.

Between her ex-husband, her unruly children, and her stressful job, she rarely had time for the luxuries she could afford.

Her beautiful children were off at college- they were doing so well. Even Isabelle with her… lifestyle… and Alec with his strange “preferences” were doing well. Good grades. Good friends. She hoped.

They didn’t talk much, but she always made sure to tell them she cared.

(They didn’t usually believe her. She supposed she couldn’t blame them.)

Max wasn’t much better. He kept “accidently” throwing his assignments into the fireplace.

He was just as stubborn and strong-willed as his siblings.

Maryse exhaled heavily, sinking into her chair. At least for now, there was no work to be done. If only for an hour or so.

She was so very tired.

There was a knock at the door.

Maryse groaned internally. She pulled herself to her feet, going to the door, her face determined. Her heels clicked menacingly on the tile and she prepared herself to shove her shoe right down some poor door-to-door salesman’s throat. But when she opened the door, a young woman stood in the doorway.

She turned to face Maryse, sweet smile on her blood-red lips.

“Maryse Lightwood?” she asked. “My name’s Camille. I’m an old friend of Izzy’s- I was wondering if I could come in?”